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This new book shows the future of the US

NOVANEWS

Review of a collection of essays on Russian-American relations 2015 – 2017 by one of the US’s top Russia experts

One of the most deeply frustrating things for anyone with any knowledge of Russia who has been following the Russiagate saga is the staggering ignorance of basic facts about Russia which is so prevalent amongst elites in the US.

What makes this especially frustrating is that there is actually no shortage of knowledgeable and erudite experts about Russia who could be called upon if any true desire for knowledge about Russia actually existed.

Of those one who who stands out is Gilbert Doctorow, who has been a professional Russia watcher since 1965.

Gilbert Doctorow has now offered us a new book – “Does the United States have a Future” – which brings together his splendid collection of essays about Russia and about Russian-American relations which he has been writing since 2015.

This is of course the same period when in the aftermath of the Ukrainian crisis and because of Russia’s intervention in Syria Russian-American relations entered upon their present catastrophic downward spiral, with the US rolling out successive sanctions against Russia, and deploying ever greater numbers of its troops ever closer to Russia’s border.

In this heavy atmosphere of heightened Russian-US tensions, and amidst a shrill media campaign, the Russian side of the story rarely gets told.  What we get instead is an exaggerated focus on the largely misunderstood doings of one man – Vladimir Putin – who is not just routinely blamed for everything that goes wrong – be it Trump’s election, the Brexit vote, the 2015 European refugee crisis, the secessionist outbreak in Catalonia and the rise in Germany of the AfD – but who has become dangerously conflated with Russia itself.

The huge achievement of Gilbert Doctorow’s essays is that they put entirely behind them this disastrous paradigm.

For someone fixated on psychoanalysing Putin’s personality and on learning the gossip about the internal squabbles of the Kremlin this collection of essays has little to offer.  Doctorow has as little patience for this sort of thing as do I.  Suffice to say that one of the essays, which goes by the dismissive title “Kremlinology is alive and well in Russia”, turns out to be focused not on mythical Kremlin power struggles but on the impact on the people of St. Petersburg of a visit by Putin to their city.

For anyone interested in Putin what anyone reading these essays will get instead is detailed and erudite analyses of his speeches, of his massive and truly astonishing Q&A sessions, of his media interviews, and of the effect of all these doings on Russian public opinion and what they tell us about Russian policy.

Not by chance, the only reference to me in the whole collection is when Doctorow disagrees with me about an interview Putin gave to the German newspaper Bild-Zeitung.  I gave the German interviewers high marks for their conduct of the interview.  Doctorow politely expresses his incredulity.

Ultimately far more interesting to anyone genuinely interested in understanding the rapidly recovering Great Power which is Russia, and who wants to get a genuine grasp of the sort of things that move its people, are those essays which touch on topics other Western reporters of Russia tend to ignore.

Here Doctorow’s immense knowledge of Russia and of Russian history is essential, and it shines through every essay.

Thus we find masterful discussions of works about tsarist history by the historian Dominic Lieven, and an outstanding discussion – the best I have come across – of Henry Kissinger’s insights and  limitations as they concern Russia.  There is even a remarkable essay which takes Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina as a starting point to discuss war.

However the single thing which sets the essays which are specifically about Russia apart is the extraordinary rapport Gilbert Doctorow has with Russia’s ‘everyman’.  Take a comment like this one from the very first page of the very first essay in the book, which is dated 30th May 2015.  Against a background of a deepening recession Gilbert Doctorow tells us this

I say assuredly that the mood across the social spectrum of my “sources” is uniformly patriotic and uncomplaining.  These sources range from the usually outspoken taxi drivers; through the traditionally critical journalists, academics, artists and other intelligentsia who are family friends going back many years, to former business contacts and other elites.

How many of those who report from Russia are able to speak to a wide range of contacts like this?  How many of them pay heed to the opinions of Russia’s “usually outspoken taxi drivers”, reliable purveyors of the public mood though those people are?  How many of those who report from Russia even know how to talk to such people? (confession here: I don’t).

Or take Gilbert Doctorow’s deeply moving account from 10th May 2016 of the March of the Immortal Regiment, held now every year on 9th May to commemorate Russia’s sacrifice in the Second World War.  What other Western reporter of Russia has both the erudition and the common touch necessary to write a passage like this?

Given the manifestly patriotic nature of Victory in Europe Day celebrations, which open in Moscow and cities across Russia with military parades, precise marching columns, displays of military hardware on the ground and in the air, I was uncertain how possibly strident the Immortal Regiment component might be.  As it turned out, the crowd was uniformly good humoured and focused on its private obligations to be met: the celebration of parents, grandparents, even great grandparents’ role in the war and reconfirmation of their status as family heroes whatever their military or civil defence rank, whether they survived or were among the countless fatalities.

Elsewhere Gilbert Doctorow is able to talk knowledgeably in two different essays about the state of the Russian shopping basket – a matter of fundamental importance to Russians and therefore given Russia’s power and importance to everyone – of Russian responses to the Trump-Clinton debate, of the Russian public’s response to one of Putin’s mammoth annual Q&A sessions, and of the steely response – utterly free of sentimentality and hysteria – of the people of St. Petersburg and of Russia generally to a terrorist attack on the city.

Of the essays specifically about Russia it is however what Doctorow writes about the Russian media which Western readers may find most surprising.

It is now generally conceded even in the West that Russia does have a public opinion, something which tended not to be admitted in Soviet times, though there still seems to be little genuine interest in finding out what it is.

The lazy assumption is anyway that in Russia public opinion is effectively manipulated by the government through its supposedly all-encompassing control of the news media.

Though it is sometimes grudgingly admitted that the printed media does have some independent voices, and that the Russian media now has a degree of sophistication unknown in Soviet times, the prevailing opinion in the West is that it remains every bit as propagandistic and mendacious as it was in Soviet times.  The classic statement of this view is Peter Pomorantsev’s “Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia”.

Doctorow’s essays are an important corrective to this bleak and distorted picture.

Doctorow does not sugarcoat the reality.  He concedes that the television media has a bias favouring the Kremlin and that ‘non-system’ politicians whose parties are not represented in the Duma like Kasyanov and Navalny have difficulty gaining access to it.

I would say in passing that Russia’s television media is not exceptional in this.  In my opinion Russian television today is much less controlled by the government than was French television during Charles De Gaulle’s and Georges Pompidou’s time in France, when I was in Paris as a child.

In any event, as a regular participant in Russia’s extraordinarily extended and elaborate political talk-shows – a vital and massively popular information tool for the Russian population – Doctorow shows that the common Western view that Russian television viewers get no exposure to the Western view-point and hear only the Kremlin’s view is simply wrong.  Here is one passage where Doctorow describes them

The regulars of these talk shows are a mix of Russians and foreigners, pro-Kremlin and anti-Kremlin voices.  There inevitably is at least one American who can be counted on to purvey the Washington Narrative.  A reliable regular in this category has been Michael Bohm, who was for a long-time op-ed manager at The Moscow Times and now is said to be teaching journalism in Moscow….

From among Russians, the talk show hosts bring in one or more representative of opposition parties.  On the 11th it happened to be a personality from the Yabloko Party (Liberals).  But at other times there will be the leader of the Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, the founder of the right nationalist LDPR, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, or the leader of the social democratic party, Just Russia, Sergei Mironov.  They all get their time on air in these shows.

Elsewhere Doctorow gives vivid accounts of these sprawling and at times chaotic talk shows, which have no precise analogue anywhere else that I know of.

Doctorow’s book, as its title shows, is not only about Russia.  Rather it is about the collapse of any sort of dialogue based on mutual respect and understanding between the US and Russia.

In essay after essay Doctorow pinpoints the cause: at a time when the Russian mind is becoming increasingly open, the American mind is becoming increasingly closed.

The title of the book – “Does the United States have a future?” – is in fact an intentional exercise in reverse imaging.

At its simplest it refers back to Doctorow’s previous book: “Does Russia have a future?” published in 2015.

However the title of both books must also be seen as a comment on the ‘disaster literature’ about Russia which has become so prevalent in the West, and which continues unabated to this day even as it is repeatedly proved wrong.

Basically what Doctorow is saying is that it is in the US not Russia that the suppression of debate and independent voices is putting the future in jeopardy.

It is in these essays that look at the situation in the US where Doctorow dissects the evolution or rather regression of US policy towards an increasingly strident Russophobia, and where one senses Doctorow’s growing exasperation and alarm.

Take for example what Doctorow has to say about one of the most outspoken Americans calling for ever more confrontation with Russia: NATO’s former military chief General Breedlove

Most everything is wrong with what Breedlove tells us in his article.  It is a perfect illustration of the consequences of the monopoly control of our media and both Houses of Congress by the ideologists of the Neoconservative and Liberal Interventionist school: we see a stunning lack of rigour in argumentation in Breedlove’s article coming from the absence of debate and his talking only to yes men.

Perhaps the biggest mistakes are conceptual: urging military means to resolve what are fundamentally political issues over the proper place of Russia in the European and global security architecture.  Whereas for Clausewitz war was ‘a continuation of politics by other means’, for Breedlove politics, or diplomacy, do not exist, only war.

The alarm in the last paragraph finds still greater emphasis in the essay which immediately precedes ot.  This has the ominous title “The Nuclear Clock is at Two Minutes to Midnight”.

It is however in the closing of the American mind where Doctorow pinpoints the danger

My point is not to ridicule the very earnest and well-intentioned anti-war campaigners whose ranks I joined that day.  It is to demonstrate how and why the highly tendentious reporting of what we are doing in the world and what others are doing to us, combined with the selective news blackouts altogether by major media has left even activists unaware of real threats to peace and to our very survival that American foreign policy has created over the past 20 years and is projected to create into the indefinite future if the public does not awaken from its slumber and demand to be informed by experts of countervailing views.  We are living through a situation unparalleled in our history as a nation where the issues of war and peace are not being debated in public.

Along with the alarm and frustration there is also very real disappointment.

Like most people who lived through the later stages of the Cold War Doctorow remembers a world where the US’s European allies acted as a force of restraint on the US.

Based now in Brussels at the very epicentre of the European Union Doctorow is shocked at the extent to which this is no longer the case, and at the degree to which the same attitudes of hubris, belligerence and hysteria which have gained such a hold in the US have now also managed to gain a hold in Europe.

Like many others Doctorow is totally unimpressed by the current crop of European politicians, and as someone able to remember the likes of Charles De Gaulle and Helmut Schmidt Doctorow does not balk from expressing his scorn in withering terms.  A good example is to be found in the title of one of his essays: “News flash: Europe is brain dead and on the drip”.

It is in his discussions of Europe that Doctorow allows himself his brief flashes of anger.  Take these comments he makes about Elmar Brok, the truly dreadful chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs

I remember with a shudder an exchange I had with Elmar Brok on 5 March 2015 on The Network, a debate program of Euronews. Brok, a German, is the chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. He comes from Angela Merkel’s CDU party and within the Parliament is in the European People’s Party bloc, on the center right, the bloc which really calls the shots in the EP.

Brok is big, brash and does not hesitate to throw his weight around, especially when talking with someone outside the Establishment whom he has no reason to fear. We were discussing the shooting of Boris Nemtsov, which occurred just days before. Brok insisted the murder was the responsibility of Vladimir Putin. Not that Putin pulled the trigger, but he created the atmosphere where such things could happen, etc., etc. One way or another the talk shifted to the allegedly autocratic nature of the Putin ‘regime,’ with its crackdown on freedoms, and in particular ever tightening control of media.

At that point, I objected that the Russia media were very diverse editorially, with many different points of view expressed freely. Brok shot back that this was patently untrue, and he did not hesitate to cross all red lines and indulge in libel on air by asking how much the Kremlin paid me to say that.

Apart from the obvious truth that an authoritarian like MEP Brok would not know freedom of speech if he tripped on it, I think back to that exchange every week whenever I turn on Russian state television and watch one or another of the main political talk shows.

Doctorow’s strongest feelings of disappointment however remain firmly focused on the US.

Doctorow’s essays show that like many people he entertained very cautiously worded hopes about Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton after all was the self-styled ‘war candidate’ and the preferred choice of the Neocons, whilst Trump at least spoke of the need for better relations with Russia.

Not for nothing is one of Doctorow’s essays entitled “War or Peace: the essential question before American voters on November 8th”.

Doctorow’s hopes were never very high and like many others he was appalled by the conduct of the 2016 election, which he calls disgraceful.  His essays which follow Trump’s election victory show the speed of his disillusionment.  Not only has Trump proved completely incapable of fulfilling any of Doctorow’s hopes; he seems to have no idea of how to conduct foreign relations, and is rapidly reverting to the aggressive belligerence which is now the default position of all US Presidents.

In the meantime his election has heightened partisan tensions within the US to unheard of levels.

In his final chapter, which has the same title – “Does the United States have a future?” – as the whole book, Doctorow sets out the consequences.

A US which twenty years ago bestrode the world is now incapable of governing itself, whilst its increasingly reckless conduct is spreading conflict and alarm around the world.

Not only has trust in “American leadership” as a result all but collapsed but the two other Great Powers – Russia and China – have been completely alienated, and are busy forging an alliance whose combined resources will soon dwarf those of the US.

About all that the US however remains in denial, as it is about the world crisis its actions are generating.  In a political system where all dissenting opinions are excluded it cannot by definition be otherwise.  Thus the US looks set to continue on its present ruinous course, with no ability to change direction

….a still greater threat to our democracy and to the sustainability of our great power status has come from the inverse phenomenon, namely the truly bipartisan management of foreign policy in Congress.  The Republican and Democratic Party leaderships have maintained strict discipline in promotion of what are Neoconservative and Liberal Interventionist positions on every issue placed before Congress.  Committees on security and foreign affairs invite to testify before them only those experts who can be counted upon to support the official Washington narrative.  Debate on the floor of the houses is nonexistent.  And the votes are so lopsided as to be shocking, none more so than the votes in August on the “Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act”….

It would be comforting if the problems of our political culture began and ended with the elites operating in Washington DC.  However that is patently not the case.  The problem exists across the country in the form of a stifling conformism, or groupthink that is destroying the open marketplace for ideas essential for any vital democracy.

I recognise the accuracy of this picture and am prey to no illusion.  However in my opinion it is still too early to give up hope.

Trump’s victory, if it shows nothing else, shows that there is more resistance to the ‘groupthink’ in the US than Doctorow in these passages perhaps allows.  What is the Russiagate hysteria after all if not the expression of a collective nervous breakdown on the part of the US elite at the discovery that the American people as a whole do not share their obsessions?

A state of hysteria of the sort we are going through now cannot be sustained indefinitely.  Eventually a reaction will set in, at which point those at the forefront in spreading the hysteria will be exposed as the charlatans that they are, whilst many of those they fooled will feel ashamed.

When that point comes it is good to know from this outstanding collection of essays that there are still genuine experts available that the US can call upon to guide its policies like Gilbert Doctorow.

Posted in USA, Russia0 Comments

Russian Federation SITREP

NOVANEWS

” … the side that mostly lies wants to stop its population hearing the side that mostly tells the truth.”

The best SITREP out there

WESTERN VALUES™. So now RT America is a “foreign agent“. (Remember all the faux outrage about Russia’s FARA imitation law? No? But it was only a year ago: “Russia: Four years of Putin’s ‘Foreign Agents’ law to shackle and silence NGOs“. Hard to keep up, isn’t it?) In case you think this reflects poorly on the “champion for free speech and free press”, John McCain, channelling Brezhnev, explains why it doesn’t. In the Cold War they blocked us but we didn’t bother to block them.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out: the side that mostly lies wants to stop its population hearing the side that mostly tells the truth. One reason is that telling (mostly) the truth is just easier. For example, Russian propaganda for the home audience lets the Western side say whatever it wants as long as it wants. Why? “the Russians have no need to lie, their propaganda is fundamentally truthful, fact based and logical…. unlike their American counterparts, the Russians are not engaging in policies which they cannot justify before their own public opinion or before the public opinion of the rest of the planet”.

In Syria the Russians are doing what they say they are doing; no need to explain why Russian troops supposedly in Ukraine can’t be seen; there are no Pokemon stories in Russia. In short, Russian propaganda is all made in the West and every idiotic story is re-played. “So yes, the Russians are using the immense arrogance and poorly-concealed hatred for Russia of some of the more pompous and least intelligent representatives of the West to paint an absolutely fair and accurate representation of the western ruling elites”.

SPEAKING OF THINGS HARD TO JUSTIFY before the Western public. “Raqqa’s dirty secret…. a secret deal that let hundreds of IS fighters…. escape from Raqqa, under the gaze of the US and British-led coalition…“. “Some of the U.S.-made weapons available on these markets likely first entered Syria as part of an ill-fated Pentagon program to train and equip fighters in northern Syria to take on the Islamic State.” Are these bugs or features? Either way, the West isn’t doing what it says it is doing.

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RELIGION. I found this video interesting: Putin and most of the Russian religious establishment (named here, but not the RC Ordinary for some reason) honour Minim and PozharskyThat’s diversity.RUSSIA INC. Inflation fell to 2.7% in October; this is a post USSR record low. Slowly but surely.

BOMB SCARES. There have been a series of hoax bomb scares across Russia lately. Phoned in from abroad we are told. Wondered that myself: I’m not suggesting it was governments but the panic is constantly pumped higher and there are a lot of excitable people out there.

REMITTANCES. A study shows that all FUSSR states except Russia and Kazakhstan are “intensely dependent” on remittances. Author’s summary: “a new system of transnational, cross-border dependency, unprecedented in its intensity”. The two “magnets” are the EU and Russia. An interesting take on the post-Soviet reality; at the end of the day, you’re either a dependent of one or of the other.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. Best summary of the story so far: “The two sources that originated the allegations claiming that Russia meddled in the 2016 election… were both paid for by the Democratic National Committee…“. Even the MSM is starting to notice (WSJ): “The Clinton campaign commissioned a foreign ex-spy to gin up rumors, which made it to U.S. intelligence agencies, and then got reporters to cite it as government-sourced.” Crowdstrike and Fusion GPS are the ur-sources. We get closer: a Fusion GPS exec spent seven hours with the House Committee on Tuesday. Bershidsky, no friend to Putin & Co, points out how ludicrous the theories have become. This was never expected to become public; it was supposed to stay in the background of her march to the White House.

PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. Spreading fast. “How the Russian meddling machine won the online battle of the illegal referendum” (El Pais). “Putin’s lying machine: Revealed, how Russia’s spewing out ruthless propaganda… “. Enjoy the map which shows how the Kremlin is “stoking discord” around the world. Again we see that lying takes more effort. And a constant effort too: always plugging holes in the narrative which gets ever more preposterous. (But read the comments: the story isn’t selling well).

MAYBE FILE. “American” LNG delivered to Europe is actually purchased in RussiaSame sourcesaid “American” coal for Ukraine also came from Russia. It wouldn’t surprise me, but I await confirmation.

SYRIA. The Syrians have liberated Abu Kamal, the last urban hold of Daesh in Syria; 25 months after Russia intervened. Some American talking heads are still in denial (more convolution).

UKRAINE. Maidan II continues but the WMSM doesn’t see it. On Sunday Saakashvili led a march demanding Poroshenko’s impeachment. Couldn’t make this stuff up.

Posted in Russia0 Comments

America’s Righteous Russia-gate Censorship

NOVANEWS

“But what is perhaps most troubling to me … is the silence of many civil liberties advocates, liberal politicians and defenders of press freedom who might have been counted on in earlier days …”

A stark difference between today’s Washington and when I was here as a young Associated Press correspondent in the late 1970s and the early 1980s is that then – even as the old Cold War was heating up around the election of Ronald Reagan – there were prominent mainstream journalists who looked askance at the excessive demonization of the Soviet Union and doubted wild claims about the dire threats to U.S. national security from Nicaragua and Grenada.

Perhaps the Vietnam War was still fresh enough in people’s minds that senior editors and national reporters understood the dangers of mindless groupthink inside Official Washington, as well as the importance of healthy skepticism toward official pronouncements from the U.S. intelligence community.

Today, however, I cannot think of a single prominent figure in the mainstream news media who questions any claim – no matter how unlikely or absurd – that vilifies Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country. It is all Russia-bashing all the time.

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And, behind this disturbing anti-Russian uniformity are increasing assaults against independent and dissident journalists and news outlets outside the mainstream. We’re not just entering a New Cold War and a New McCarthyism; we’re also getting a heavy dose of old-style Orwellianism.Sometimes you see this in individual acts like HuffingtonPost taking down a well-reported story by journalist Joe Lauria because he dared to point out that Democratic money financed the two initial elements of what’s now known as Russia-gate: the forensic examination of computers at the Democratic National Committee and the opposition research on Donald Trump conducted by ex-British spy Christopher Steele.

HuffingtonPost never contacted Lauria before or after its decision to retract the story, despite a request from him for the reasons why. HuffPost editors told a BuzzFeed reporter that they were responding to reader complaints that the article was filled with factual errors but none have ever been spelled out, leaving little doubt that Lauria’s real “error” was in defying the Russia-gate groupthink of the anti-Trump Resistance. [A version of Lauria’s story appeared at Consortiumnews.com before Lauria posted it at HuffPost. If you want to sign a petition calling on HuffPost to restore Lauria’s article, click here.]

Muzzling RT

Other times, the expanding American censorship is driven by U.S. government agencies, such as the Justice Department’s demand that the Russian news outlet, RT, register under the restrictive Foreign Agent Registration Act, which requires such prompt, frequent and detailed disclosures of supposed “propaganda” that it could make it impossible for RT to continue to function in the United States.

This attack on RT was rationalized by the Jan. 6 “Intelligence Community Assessment” that was, in reality, prepared by a handful of “hand-picked” analysts from the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency. Their report included a seven-page addendum from 2012 accusing RT of spreading Russian propaganda – and apparently this Jan. 6 report must now be accepted as gospel truth, no questions permitted.

However, if any real journalist actually read the Jan. 6 report, he or she would have discovered that RT’s sinister assault on American democracy included such offenses as holding a debate among third-party candidates who were excluded from the Republican-Democratic debates in 2012. Yes, allowing Libertarians and Greens to express their points of view is a grave danger to American democracy.

Other RT “propaganda” included reporting on the Occupy Wall Street protests and examining the environmental dangers from “fracking,” issues that also have been widely covered by the domestic American media. Apparently, whenever RT covers a newsworthy event – even if others have too – that constitutes “propaganda,” which must be throttled to protect the American people from the danger of seeing it.

If you bother to study the Jan. 6 report’s addendum, it is hard not to conclude that these “hand-picked” analysts were either stark-raving mad or madly anti-Russian. Yet, this “Intelligence Community Assessment” is now beyond questioning unless you want to be labeled a “Kremlin stooge” or “Putin’s useful idiot.” [An earlier State Department attack on RT was equally ridiculous or demonstrably false.]

And, by the way, it was President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who testified under oath that the analysts from the three agencies were “hand-picked.” That means that they were analysts personally selected by Obama’s intelligence chiefs from three agencies – not “all 17” as the American public was told over and over again – and thus were not even a full representation of analysts from those three agencies. Yet, this subset of a subset is routinely described as “the U.S. intelligence community,” even after major news outlets finally had to retract their “all 17” canard.So, the myth of the intelligence community’s consensus lives on. For instance, in an upbeat article on Tuesday about the U.S. government’s coercing RT into registering as a foreign agent, Washington Post reporters Devlin Barrett and David Filipov wrote, “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the network and website push relentlessly anti-American propaganda at the behest of the Russian government.”

In the old days, even during the old Cold War and President Reagan’s ranting about “the Evil Empire,” some of us would have actually examined the Jan. 6 report’s case against RT and noted the absurdity of these claims about “relentlessly anti-American propaganda.” Whether you want to hear the views of the Greens and Libertarians or not – or whether you like “fracking” and hate Occupy Wall Street – the opportunity to hear this information doesn’t constitute “relentlessly anti-American propaganda.”

The U.S. government’s real beef with RT seems to be that it allows on air some Americans who have been blacklisted from the mainstream media – including highly credentialed former U.S. intelligence analysts and well-informed American journalists – because they have challenged various Official Narratives.

In other words, Americans are not supposed to hear the other side of the story on important international conflicts, such as the proxy war in Syria or the civil war in Ukraine or Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians. Only the State Department’s versions of those events are permitted even when those versions are themselves propagandistic if not outright false.

For example, you’re not supposed to hear about the huge holes in the Syria-sarin cases, nor about Ukraine’s post-coup regime arming neo-Nazis to kill ethnic-Russian Ukrainians, nor about Israel’s evolution into an apartheid state. All right-thinking Americans are to get only a steady diet of how righteous the U.S. government and its allies always are. Anything else is “propaganda.”Also off limits is any thoughtful critique of that Jan. 6 report – or apparently even Clapper’s characterization of it as a product of “hand-picked” analysts from only three agencies. You’re not supposed to ask why other U.S. intelligence agencies with deep knowledge about Russia were excluded and why even other analysts from the three involved agencies were shut out.

No, you must always think of the Jan. 6 report as the “consensus” assessment from the entire “U.S. intelligence community.” And you must accept it as flat fact – as it now is treated by The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other mainstream news outlets. You shouldn’t even notice that the Jan. 6 report itself doesn’t claim that Russian election meddling was a fact. The report explains, that “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.”

But even quoting from the Jan. 6 report might make an American reporter some kind of traitorous “Russian mole” whose journalism must be purged from “responsible” media and who should be forced to wear the journalistic equivalent of a yellow star.

The Anti-Trump/Russia Hysteria

Of course, much of this anti-Russian hysteria comes from the year-long fury about the shocking election of Donald Trump. From the first moments of stunned disbelief over Hillary Clinton’s defeat, the narrative was put in motion to blame Trump’s victory not on Clinton and her wretched campaign but on Russia. That also was viewed as a possible way of reversing the election’s outcome and removing Trump from office.The major U.S. news media quite openly moved to the forefront of the Resistance. The Washington Post adopted the melodramatic and hypocritical slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” as it unleashed its journalists to trumpet the narrative of some disloyal Americans spreading Russian propaganda. Darkness presumably was a fine place to stick people who questioned the Resistance’s Russia-gate narrative.

An early shot in this war against dissenting information was fired last Thanksgiving Day when the Post published a front-page article citing an anonymous group called PropOrNot smearing 200 Internet news sites for allegedly disseminating Russian propaganda. The list included some of the most important sources of independent journalism, including Consortiumnews.com, apparently for the crime of questioning some of the State Department’s narratives on international conflicts, particularly Syria and Ukraine.

Then, with the anti-Russia hysteria building and the censorship ball rolling, Congress last December approved $160 million for think tanks and other non-governmental organizations to combat Russian propaganda. Soon, reports and studies were flying off the shelves detecting a Russian behind every article, tweet and posting that didn’t toe the State Department’s line.

The New York Times and other leading news organizations have even cheered plans for Google, Facebook and other technology companies to deploy algorithms that can hunt down, marginalize or eliminate information that establishment media deems “fake” or “propaganda.” Already Google has put together a First Draft coalition, consisting of mainstream media and establishment-approved Web sites to decide what information makes the cut and what doesn’t.

Among these arbiters of truth is the fact-check organization PolitiFact, which judged the falsehood about “all 17 intelligence agencies” signing off on the Russian “hacking” claim to be “true.” Even though the claim was never true and is now clearly established as false, PolitiFact continues to assert that this lie is the truth, apparently filled with the hubris that comes with its power over determining what is true and what is false.

But what is perhaps most troubling to me about these developments is the silence of many civil liberties advocates, liberal politicians and defenders of press freedom who might have been counted on in earlier days to object to this censorship and blackballing.

It appears that the ends of taking down Donald Trump and demonizing Vladimir Putin justify whatever means, no matter the existential danger of nuclear war with Russia or the McCarthyistic (even Orwellian) threats to freedom of speech, press and thought.

Posted in USA, Russia0 Comments

Is Putin Is Russia’s Anti-Stalinist

NOVANEWS

” … Cohen concludes, the new memorial to Stalin’s victims, however historic, will not end the bitter controversy and political struggle over his reputation in Russia, which began with his death 64 years ago.”

Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fourth year, are at The Nation)


In November 1961, at the end of a Community Party Congress that publicly condemned Stalin’s crimes, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev unexpectedly called for the building of a national memorial to the tens of millions of victims of Stalin’s nearly 25-year reign, much of it accompanied by mass terror.

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Part 2:

During the next five decades, a fierce political struggle raged between anti-Stalinists and pro-Stalinists, sometimes publicly but often behind the scenes, over whether the victims should be memorialized or deleted from history through repression and censorship. On October 30 of this year, Russia’s anti-Stalinists finally won this struggle when Putin officially and personally inaugurated, in the center of Moscow, a large memorial sculpture named “Wall of Sorrow” depicting the victims’ fate. Though nominally dedicated to all victims of Soviet repression, the monument was clearly—in word, deed, and design—focused on the Stalin years, from 1929 to his death in 1953.

Cohen explains that he has spent decades studying the Stalin era, during which he came to know personally many surviving victims of the mass terror and had closely observed various aspects of the struggle over their subsequent place in Soviet politics and history. (This history and Cohen’s is recounted in his book The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag After Stalin.)

As a result, he and his wife, Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, felt a compelling need to be present at the ceremony on October 30. Having gained access to the semi-closed event, attended perhaps by some 300 people (including officials, representatives of anti-Stalinist memorial organizations, aged survivors, relatives of victims, and the mostly Russian press), they flew to Moscow for the occasion.

Cohen gave Batchelor his firsthand account of the event, at which Putin, the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, and a representative of a memorial organization, Vladimir Lukin (whom Cohen had known since 1976, when Lukin was a semi-dissident outcast in Moscow, and later a post-Soviet Russian ambassador to Washington), spoke.

The formal ceremony began just after 5 pmand lasted, after a choir’s hymns, about 45 minutes. At first, Cohen felt it was marred by the dark, cold, rainy weather, until he heard someone in the gathering remark quietly, “The heavens are weeping for the victims.” In the context of other anti-Stalinist speeches by Soviet and post-Soviet leaders over the years,

Cohen thought Putin’s remarks were heartfelt, moving, even profound. (They can be found in English at Kremlin.ru.) Without mentioning their names, Putin alluded to the crucial roles played in the anti-Stalinist struggle by Khrushchev and by Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet leader during the years of reform from 1985 to 1991.

(Cohen and vanden Heuvel spent the evening before the ceremony at a private dinner with Gorbachev and one of his closest friends, often recalling Gorbachev’s pathbreaking de-Stalinizing reformation, known as perestroika, much of which they had also observed firsthand.) One of Putin’s remarks at the ceremony struck Cohen as especially important. After allowing that most events in Russian history were the subject of legitimate debate, Stalin’s long mass terror, Putin suggested, was not.

Other controversial episodes may have their historical pluses and minuses, but Stalin’s terror and its consequences were too criminal and ramifying for any pluses. That, he emphasized, was the essential lesson for Russia’s present and future.

Based on reading the Russian press and watching Moscow television for three days, Cohen concluded there were three general reactions to the memorial monument and Putin’s role, at least among Moscow’s political and intellectual elites. One was full approval. Another, expressed in a protest by a number of Soviet-era dissidents, most of them now living abroad, and reported in Russian media, was that such a memorial to historical victims was “cynical” while there were still victims of repression in today’s Russia.The third view, expressed by ultra-nationalist writers, was that any condemnation of Stalin’s “repression,” especially officially and by President Putin personally, was deplorable because it weakened the nation’s will to “repress” US and NATO encroachment on Russia’s borders and its “fifth column” representatives inside the Russian political establishment today. If nothing else, Cohen points out, these reactions testify to the spectrum of public political opinion in Russia under Putin.

Understood in historical and political context, the official creation of the memorial monument was a historic development—not only a much belated tribute to Stalin’s victims and their millions of surviving relatives but official acknowledgment of the (Soviet) Russian state’s prolonged act of massive historical criminality. And yet American media coverage of the October 30 event was woefully characteristic of its general reporting on Russia today—either selectively silent or slanted to diminish the significance of the event, whether because of ignorance or the evidently mandatory need to vilify everything Putin does or says.

The title of the New York Times report (October 30) was representative: “Critics Scoff as Kremlin Erects Monument to the Repressed.” (The article also contained an astonishing allegation: The Kremlin “has never opened the archives from the [Stalin] period.” As every historian of the Soviet period, and all informed journalists based in Moscow, knows, those archives have opened ever wider since the 1990s. This is certainly true of the Soviet Communist Party archive, which includes Stalin’s personal documents, where Cohen works during his regular visits to Moscow.)

Considering this systematic American mainstream media malpractice in covering Russia (and Putin) today, Cohen comments on a number of related themes, which he and Batchelor discuss:

The US media demonization of Putin regularly presents him as a kind of crypto-Stalin who has promoted the rehabilitation of the despot’s reputation in Russia. This is factually untrue. Putin’s rare, barely semi-positive public references to Stalin mostly relate to the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, from which, however great Stalin’s crimes, he cannot truthfully be separated.

For better or worse, Stalin was the wartime Soviet leader. Nor was October 30 the first time Putin had appeared at a public memorialization of Stalin’s victims—he had done so previously, then and now the only Soviet or post-Soviet leader ever to do so. Above all, as Cohen knows from his own study and sources, Putin personally made possible, against formidable high-level opposition, the creation not only of the new memorial monument but, several years earlier, the construction of a large State Museum of the History of the Gulag, also in Moscow.It is true that Stalin’s historical reputation in Russia today is on the rise. But this is due to circumstances that Putin does not control, certainly not fully. Pro-Stalin forces in the Russian political-media-historical establishment have used their considerable resources to recast the murderous despot in the image of a stern but benign leader who protected “the people” against foreign enemies, traitors, venal politicians, and corrupt bureaucrats.

In addition, when Russia is confronted with Cold War threats from abroad, as it perceives to be today, Stalin reemerges as the leader who drove the Nazi war machine from Russia all the way back to Berlin and destroyed it along the way. Not surprisingly, in a recent poll of positive popular attitudes toward admired historical figures, Stalin topped the list. Briefly stated, Stalin’s reputation has fallen and risen due to larger social and international circumstances. Thus, during the very hard economic times of the Yeltsin 1990s, Stalin’s reputation, after plunging under Gorbachev, began to rise again
.

§ It is often reported that Putin’s relative silence about controversial subjects in modern Russian history is a form of sinister cover-up or censorship. This misinterpretation fails to understand two important factors. Like any state and its leadership, Russia needs a usable, substantially consensual history for stability and progress. Achieving elite or popular consensus about the profound traumas of the Czarist, Soviet, and post-Soviet pasts is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible.

Putin’s approach, with rare exceptions, has been twofold. First, he has said little judgmental about controversial periods and events while encouraging historians, political intellectuals, and others to argue publicly over their disagreements, though “civilly.” Second, and related, he has avoided resorting to the Soviet practice of imposed state historical orthodoxy, which required heavy-handed censorship and other forms of suppression. Hence his refusal to stage state events during this 100th anniversary year of the 1917 Revolution—not, as is widely reported, because he “fears a new revolution”—leaving such public celebrations to the large Russian Communist Party, for which 1917 remains sacred.

Surely Putin deserves credit for avoiding state-imposed historical orthodoxies, the only important exception being those around  the Soviet victory in the Second World War, during which 27.5 million Soviet citizens perished, and even in this regard there are considerable controversies in the Russian media.§ It is also regularly asserted in the American media that Russia has never grappled publicly with, “confronted,” its dark Stalinist past. This too is factually untrue. From 1956 to his overthrow in 1964, Khrushchev permitted waves of revelations and judgments about the crimes of the Stalin era. They were mostly stopped under his immediate successors, but under Gorbachev’s glasnostthere was, as was commonly said at the time, a kind of “Nuremberg Trial of the Stalin Era” in virtually all forms of Soviet media.

It has continued ever since, though to a lesser degree, with less intensity, and facing greater pro-Stalin opposition. Indeed, Americans might consider this: In Moscow, there are two state-sponsored national memorials to Stalin’s millions of victims—the Gulag Museum and the new monument. In Washington, there are none specifically dedicated to the millions of victims of American slavery.

Nonetheless, Cohen concludes, the new memorial to Stalin’s victims, however historic, will not end the bitter controversy and political struggle over his reputation in Russia, which began with his death 64 years ago. It will continue, not primarily because of one or another Kremlin leader but because millions of relatives of the Stalinist terror’s victims and victimizers still confront each other in Russia and will for perhaps at least another generation. Because the Stalin era was marked both by a mountain of crimes and a mountain of national achievements, which even the best-informed and best-intended historians still struggle to reconcile or balance. And because the nearly 30-year Stalinist experience still influences Russia in ways arguably no less than does a Kremlin leader, even Vladimir Putin, however good his intentions.

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9 Myths About the Last Russian Tsar Meant to Defame Him: #4 – Bloody Sunday

NOVANEWS

“a violent mob (and not ‘peaceful and unarmed’ as the Western propaganda goes), burning and looting vehicles and other property, revolted on Bloody Sunday in 1905”

 
Part of Communist legend – and not true

Editor’s note: A Russian website recently published a long, fascinating article by renown historian Gleb Eliseev. It names nine most widespread myths about Nicholas II. We decided to relay it to you in a series of weekly articles, in order to help people better understand why the Russian church made Nicholas II a saint. This is the fourth one in our series. (Myth 1;  Myth 2;  Myth 3 


Every high schooler learns that ‘Bloody Sunday’, was a ‘peaceful demonstration’ that was violently fired upon by soldiers of the Imperial Guard in 1905.

The story goes that a peaceful delegation of workers and peasants spontaneously marched to the palace, having decided to ask the Tsar for help, bringing to the Tsar-Father ‘their needs and longings.’

Instead of listening to them, the Tsar unleashed his Imperial Guard and gave orders for them to fire upon the unarmed civilians.

1000s of people died. The Tsar proceeded to squelch all the requests of the common people.

In reality, though, this is a highly romanticized — and highly inaccurate — representation of the historical reality, which is, according to Orthodox England: 

In the absence of the Tsar from St Petersburg (because of the almost successful assassination attempt on him and his family three weeks before), a violent mob (and not ‘peaceful and unarmed’, as the Western propaganda goes), burning and looting vehicles and other property revolted on Bloody Sunday in 1905.

While stories always represent Nicholas II as a cruel, unfeeling leader, all evidence points to the contrary. Always, the Tsar was heartbroken when violence broke out. On the night of Bloody Sunday, he wrote.

“A heavy day! In Petersburg there were serious disorders as a result of the workers’ desire to reach the Winter Palace. The guard had to shoot in various areas of the city, and there were many killed and wounded. Lord, how painful and heavy!”

Among the first questions people ask very piteously is this one: if the Tsar didn’t actually want people to be shot, and cared about his people, why didn’t he just march out if the Winter Palace and greet the demonstrators? Why didn’t he just listen to them?

Fact Check 1: The Tsar WASN’T in the Winter Palace.

In fact, he wasn’t even in St. Petersburg at all.  Nicholas II had stayed in his summer home, kilometres away. His family was still shaken and recovering from a recent assassination attempt by revolutionary terrorists.

The police authority had told Nicholas II that there was nothing to worry about; that while workers were striking, there was no danger of tension in the city.

Sviatopolk-Mirsky, the recently appointed Minister of Internal affairs, who often worked behind the back of the Tsar to advance a liberal agenda, deliberately withheld the information about the upcoming march from the Tsar:

According to Ortho Christian:

the Minister of Interior Affairs reassured himself and others with the words that it would be enough to explain to the people that the Tsar was not in the capital, and they would peacefully disperse…

On the evening of January 8, 1905, Sviatopolk-Mirsky came to Tsarskoe Selo and reported on the situation in the capital to the Tsar.

He assured him that despite the enormous number of striking workers, the situation does not merit serious caution;

he did not say a single word about the upcoming march of workers to the Winter Palace, the calling of army battalions to the capital, and the plans to oppose the demonstration using the armed forces.

Perhaps, if the Tsar had been in the city, the dimensions of the tragedy would have been substantially decreased, for the workers were, indeed, marching to a Tsar they loved and trusted.

However, the liberals in the government, the traitorous politicians, and the revolutionaries at large knew it was necessary to create a rift between the Tsar and his faithful people in order to make revolution possible; thus, the Tsar was consistently misinformed and misrepresented by his officials and revolutionaries.

Fact Check 2: The ‘peaceful’ demonstrators were first to shoot at the Imperial Guard

Despite the rumours of unwarranted violence on the side of the Imperial Guard, the first to open fire were actually the protestors.

Of course, the workers participating in the march were unarmed, but among them there were plenty of well-armed revolutionaries who had become very well versed in violence over the years of terrorist attacks that they waged in the name of the ‘Coming Revolution.’

Members of the Eserov party, a group of radical armed revolutionaries that committed numerous terrorist acts in Russia, started shooting at soldiers. It is easy to imagine how violence ensued.

While there were some examples of callousness on the side of the guard, there were also generals who did everything to prevent bloodshed and stop the havoc.

People threw stones, sticks, and pieces of ice at his men, showering them with insults. Litke, however, restrained his men and preferred to retreat to a secluded area, not attempting to solve the problem with force.

He was not able to clear out Nevsky Prospect right away, breaking up the crowd with rifle butts “due to their stubbornness and animosity,” as he wrote in his report.

Especially aggressive was the crowd that gathered by the gate of Alexandrov Park, where they shouted insults at the guard, yelled, whistled, and at the warnings shouted, “Shoot us.”

After repeated peaceful attempts and three warning trumpets given with pauses in between, shots were fired, the crowd scattered, leaving around thirty people dead and wounded.

Fact Check 3: The March was not a spontaneous populist movement. Revolutionaries had planned the march…and violence was part of their plan.

  

Despite the ubiquitous portrayal of the marchers as innocent, peaceful people who spontaneously decided to ask the Tsar for help, the march was strategically organized by revolutionaries with the specific goal of sparking a violent clash with the authorities. According to Orthodox England:

It was led by a renegade, twice-married priest, Fr George Gapon, who hanged himself the next year, when it was discovered that he was in fact a secret agent.

The necessity for a crisis to be concocted and exaggerated in order to create an environment conducive to ultimate revolt was discussed in September 1904 in Paris, at a conference (which was incidentally funded by Japanese money).

While some of the strikes that led to Bloody Sunday were indeed spontaneous, there were documented cases of activists appearing at factories and forcing people to strike.

Fr George Gapon, who came up with the original plan to march on the Tsar, helped put together a document of demands from the Tsar. Many of the demands were completely unrealistic and simply impossible to satisfy at a time when the country was torn by the Russo-Japanese War.

And although the purpose of the march is often described as a humble request for help, it was actually a demand for unquestionable, complete submission from the Tsar…or else….

Here’s what Gapon told his followers:

And what if the Tsar does not accept the petition, then what will I do? I will raise a red flag, which means that we do not have a Tsar, that we ourselves must fight for our rights…”

There is a peaceful march for you!

It is appropriate to note here, as a prelude to the next story, that one of the columns that marched on January 9 was revolutionary, plain and simple, carrying not portraits of the Tsar, but red flags.

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The Leftist powers were thrilled with the occurrence and immediately began framing it as “a shooting by the Tsar at a peaceful demonstration.”

Though the revolutionaries professed to want ‘political reforms,’ nothing of the sort appeased him. They did not need political reforms, they needed “great upheavals” as a Russian politician, Pobedonostev, later said of the revolutionaries.

Fact Check 4: The Casualty Numbers have been systematically and grossly exaggerated

Here is what Ortho Christian writes:

According to official statistics, there were 128 people killed in all (including police), and 360 wounded (including guard and police).

According to the Bolshevik historian V. Nevsky, who was a witness to the events of January 9, 1905, there were from 150 to 200 people killed.

Meanwhile, certain authors (for example, Edward Radzinsky), and textbooks still write that there were thousands of victims.

In Conclusion

Though the Tsar systematically did everything in his power to prevent bloodshed, the use of Bloody Sunday as ‘proof’ of his callousness has become so ingrained into the public consciousness that saying anything to the contrary is often considered to be a sign of ignorance.

According to OrthoChristian: 

No one cared about the meeting that the Tsar then had with the workers, about the large sum of money paid to the families that suffered on that day (50,000 rubles, the equivalent of just less than $600,000 today).

Nor did anyone care about the government commission he formed to attend to the workers’ needs, nor that in 1906 the periodical Byloe (What Was) (No.1) printed an article with a truthful and thorough account of the events of January 9, 1905.

Let’s hope that at least now there are people who want to know the truth about those events.

 A video introducing Russian Faith:

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12 Cherished Liberal Myths About the Bolshevik Revolution

NOVANEWS

One of Russia’s favorite and most talented conservative publicists takes a sledgehammer to some of the favorite arguments of the neo-bolshie crowd.

In his latest article, published at Vzglyad, Egor Kholmogorov demolishes twelve myths about the Bolshevik revolution, using a recent article by the Russian novelist Zakhar Prilepin as a foil.

Why Prilepin? Who is he, anyway? You won’t find many mentions of him in the Western media, like you would of Vladimir Sorokin, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, or Dzerzhinsky admirer turned maniac Russophobe Svetlana Alexievich – writers that take a “handshakeworthy” anti-Russian stance.

However, Zakhar Prilepin enjoys far more popular acclaim within Russia itself than any of those third rate entities – the only modern Russian literary authors comparable to him in eminence are Boris Akunin (historical mystery), Viktor Pelevin (satire), and Sergey Lukyanenko (sci-fi).

Part of the reason is Prilepin’s background. He has nothing to do with the Moscow intelligentsia; he is the quintessential Russian redneck. Worked as a laborer, a security guard, and with the OMON riot police. Chechnya vet. Went into journalism in the 2000s, but found his true calling in artistic literature: Writing socially critical novels, typically about life in the Russian podunks (he himself hails from the rustbelt city of Nizhny Novgorod).

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Worst of all, he is a vatnik, a Communist (a National Bolshevik, to be precise), and a Donbass supporter. Most definitely not handshakeworthy – especially since he doesn’t exactly keep his politics on a back burner. Prilepin is also Chief Editor of Svobodnaya Pressa, an intelligent online journal and media success story that enjoys 15 million monthly visits (they even once translated one of my articles). He also pals around with DNR bigwigs and has even gathered a battalion for the War in the Donbass, though its more PR spectacle than anything else.As one of Russia’s leading “patriotic”/vatnik intellectuals, and one of the most authoritative spokespersons for what Russian Neo-Stalinists actually think, a point-by-point critique of Prilepin’s apologia for the Bolshevik Revolution has value beyond just another recitation of Bolshevik crimes and hypocrisy (of which there is no shortage of anyway).

Moreover, even if you substantively or wholly disagree with Egor Kholmogorov’s critique, I hope that this translation will at least help you get a better picture of the actual state of the debate about the Soviet legacy amongst normal Russians, beyond the banal (not to mention 90% wrong) Western representation of it as a binary struggle between a Stalinophile Kremlin and pro-Western liberals.

– Anatoly Karlin


Twelve Myths of the Bolshevik Revolution: A Conservative Refutation

By Yegor Kholmogorv

The defense of Lenin and the Bolshevik regime in Zakhar Prilepin’s recent article is so representative of the genre that one can barely leave it uncommented.

The Great October Revolution lies in ruins on its centenary. The essence of its defeat lies in that even the modest apologists for Bolshevism hardly ever cite their actual programs, slogans, and values. Nobody now says that the Revolution opened the path to socialism and Communism all over the world, nobody expresses joy over the collapse of the bourgeoisie and the Tsar’s henchmen and their replacement by a workers’ state. Nobody says that the light of atheism shone through the darkness of clerical obscurantism, nobody insists that the Bolsheviks gave the land to the peasants, the factories to the workers, and peace to the people.

The justification of the October Revolution, of Bolshevism, and of Soviet power – in short, the entirety of Red apologetics – now occurs from within patriotic, nationalist, conspirological, populist, and even Christian Orthodox frameworks, all of which were mostly or entirely antithetical to the Communist value system itself. In practice, this consists of sophistic manipulations of Hegel’s “Cunning of Reason.” That is, the Bolsheviks wanted one thing, but something entirely different happened in reality, and it is actually this unconscious benefit which constitutes the real blessing of the revolution.

This form of apologetics was invented as early as the 1920s by the National Bolsheviks, from Ustryalov – who viewed Lenin as a patriot and a great statesman, and the Whites as agents of foreign powers in the form of the Entente – to Klyuev – who saw the Bolsheviks as liberators of the more authentic, pre-Petrine, “Kerzhen” Russia. But the value of all these apologetics was most poignantly demonstrated by the execution (Ustryalov, Klyuev) or imprisonment (Karsavin, Savitsky, Shulgin) of everyone who glorified Bolshevism through prisms other than Marxism-Leninism. Sure, the Bolsheviks were not averse to using smenovekhovstvo – the White emigres pushing for conciliation with the Soviet regime – for their own purposes, but they most assuredly did not subscribe to their vision of their historical mission as patriots, regatherers of the Russian lands, and custodians of the Russian state.

Why do people still bother with Red apologetics today?

Partly, on account of inflexibility. Russia in the 1990s was infested by ghouls, screeching that they had freed us from Lenin, the Communists, and the revolutionary heritage – while quietly freeing us from the contents of our pockets. And since this looting occurred under the banner of anti-communism, it is no surprise that pro-Soviet discourse grew popular, since it, at least, did not brook this mass looting.For all intents and purposes, Red apologetics was an apologetics for a social state; for public property, that had been created by the common labor of the Soviet people; for the Army, cosmonautics, the military-industrial complex, the Navy, the research centers, and so forth. And this was logical.

To my shame, there was a period, when I myself, despite never having imbibed the Leninist spirit, partook of similar activities. The most popular aspect of these apologetics was the Stalinist one – yes, the Revolution may have been horrific, but then came along Stalin and set everything right again…

But this train has passed. Russian society now faces new challenges, in which the political canonization of Bolshevism, Leninism, and Stalinism are not the friends, but the enemies, of our future.

And yet the Red people are still stuck in their polemics about Gaidar and Chubais. For instance, take the issue of creeping separatism in Tatarstan. It is impossible to solve it from a neo-Soviet position because it was Lenin who created the Tatar ASSR and accommodated the Sultan-Galievs. The Ukraine, which demolished all its Lenin monuments, was his beloved child. In reality, regardless of which question we consider, appeals to the Soviet experience are block brakes on our future progress. It is either a false alternative to the liberal solution, or it is the liberal solution. Therefore, it is no surprise that we are hearing increasingly Bolshevik overtones in the rhetoric of our liberal cliques, for example, in the matter of anti-clericalism. The Zyuganov era of traditionalist-friendly Communism is coming to its inevitable end, and is becoming displaced by a new era of Communist liberalism, which is hostile to the Russian traditional values that are held in equal contempt by both liberals and conventional Communists. [1]

It is precisely this form of apologetics that was advanced by Zakhar Prilepin in his recent article 12 Points about the Revolution and the Civil War. His defense of Lenin and the Bolshevik order is so representative that the urge to deconstruct it is irresistible, so that is what we shall do, point by consecutive point.1. The Bolsheviks did not overthrow the Tsar – they overthrew the liberal-Westernist Provisional Government.

The Bolsheviks were the most categorical supporters of overthrowing the autocracy amongst all the Russian opposition parties. They excluded the possibility of keeping the monarchy even in a purely constitutional form; they were the most consistent republicans.

The Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party considers its immediate political task to be the overview of Tsarist autocracy and its replacement by a democratic republic,” read the program of the RSDRP accepted at its 2nd Congress, the very one where Lenin’s supporters constituted the majority, and henceforth came to be known as the Bolsheviks.

The Bolsheviks didn’t play a major role in the overthrow of the monarchy only because the party was still very weak as of February 1917.

But they more than compensated for this through their murder of the royal family, which, besides the innate abhorrence of the murder of the children and the servants, constituted the true overthrow of the Russian monarchy. As many historians and legal theorists have pointed out, the abdication of Nicholas II in March 1917 was legally null and reversible, whereas death was final.2. Prilepin, arguing that the Civil War between Whites and Reds was started by the Februarists (Kornilov, Alekseyev, Savinkov), poses this rhetorical question: “Do those who oppose Lenin and the Bolsheviks really believe that Russia would have been better off in the 20th century if it was governed by liberals, revolutionaries with a penchant for terrorism, and generals who broke their vows”?

Unfortunately, the majority of our readers are still not sufficiently familiar with the history of the anti-Bolshevik resistance, and might, therefore, be inclined to agree with this assertion. But that doesn’t make it correct.

The leaders, the real icons of the White movement – generals Drozdovsky, Markov, Kappel, Yudenich, Kutepov – were convinced monarchists. The only consistent republican amongst the leadership was Denikin. The position of Admiral Kolchak remains unclear.

The rest in one way or another expressed support for the monarchy. Moreover, despite the dissatisfaction of Entente emissaries, the White movements continuously moved rightwards throughout the years of the Civil War towards a more definite monarchism, culminating in a Zemsky Sobor in Vladivostok in 1922.

General Kornilov: “I was never against the monarchy… I am a Cossack. A true Cossack cannot be anything but a monarchist.

General Alekseyev: “In the course of time Russia has to move towards a restoration of the monarchy.

General Wrangel: “The Tsar must appear only when the Bolsheviks are vanquished.

Even the republican Denikin admitted that half of his Army consisted of monarchists.

But to honestly answer the question of whether it would have been better for Russia to be ruled by liberals, retired Social Revolutionary pyromaniacs, and turncoat generals in the 20th century, it is merely sufficient to pose the following questions:

“Would Savinkov, the terrorist Social Revolutionary, have implemented general collectivization, dekulakization, and the expulsion of people whose lands and property had been seized, into areas of permafrost, where they died of hunger?”

“Would Kornilov, the general who betrayed the monarchy, have created a system of concentration camps covering the entire country, where people would have been sent for telling a joke about himself, or for stealing a sheaf of wheat from one of Savinkov’s collective farms?”

“Would Kerensky, that undoubted leftist scoundrel, have issued orders blocking relief to the famine-stricken oblasts of Malorossiya, the Kuban, and the Volga, and instead barred their denizens from leaving the disaster zones?”

“Would Denikin, the republican, have signed off on lists of hundreds of names to be executed and approved the requests of local secret police HQs to raise the shooting quotas?”

“Would Milyukov, unrivaled in his liberal vulgarity, have closed churches, shot monks, priests, bishops, and hole fools, tear off crosses from children’s necks and open up holy relics for “examination”?”

An honest answer to these questions demonstrates how even a regime of incredibly odious Februarists was still far preferable to Bolshevik tyranny. Even the most authoritarian right-wing regimes are incomparable to leftist totalitarians on the scale of their repressions and destruction. Pinochet is not Pol Pot.

Furthermore, we can see why even the Februarists were preferable to Communist power by the example of the 1990s. In those years, the new Februarists encountered fierce political, ideological, and sometimes violent resistance from the national-patriotic forces. In the end, before a single decade passed, and Russian February ended, voluntarily surrendering power to Putin, who began the process of state rebuilding. Why would the 1920s have been any different?

3. “Supporters of the idea that the Revolution was financed by German and British money should try to explain, first, whether they actually obtained the advantages they sought; and second, identify the goals that both pursued by intervening against Soviet Russia, if the Bolsheviks were indeed their agents.

Nobody ever suspected the Bolsheviks of acting in the interests of the Entente. It is the Februarists, overthrown by the Bolsheviks, who were probably English agents, whereas Lenin and his colleagues are, not without justification, seen as German agents.

There were no even minimally significant clashes between the Bolsheviks and the German Army, which occupied a large portion of Russia under the Brest Peace. Lenin and his government was absolutely loyal to Germany up to the last day of the Hohenzollern monarchy, with tremendous benefits to the German war effort – a large part of the Army was freed from the Eastern Front and hurled west instead, helped along by food supplies from the Ukraine.

You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Lenin was most scrupulous about keeping his side of the German contract, up to and including pressuring even his own party to ratify the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. It is sufficient to recall that on March 1, 1918, the Bolsheviks matter-of-factly surrendered Kiev, liberated from the Petlyurites on February 8 as a result of a workers’ uprising.

The enduring nature of the Bolshevik-German alliance is testified to by its quick resurrection under Germany’s new republican rulers, despite them having suppressed all attempts to seize power by Moscow-backed Cominternists.

4. “When discussing the exile of part of the aristocracy from Russia, and its replacement by “cooks and bandits,” as some of us say, it is worth recalling that Lenin, too, was a noble, as were many of the most prominent Bolshevik figures and leaders of the party” [there follows a discussion of the noble descent of Lenin, Ordzhonikidze, Mayakovsky, and even the Chekist, Gleb Bokii].

There is nothing new about some members of the aristocracy defecting to anti-aristocratic movements. One can cite many other historical examples, from Pericles in Ancient Athens to Philippe I, Duke of Orléans.

The list of names mentioned by Prilepin himself shows that the number of noblemen amongst the leaders of the Bolsheviks was negligibly small (especially when your exclude Polish nobles such as Dzerzhinsky, who hated everything Russian and were considered revolutionaries a priori in the Russian Empire).

Moreover, the degree of Lenin’s noble stock shouldn’t be exaggerated; his father, Ilya Ulyanov, was the son of a petty bourgeois, and only acquired the rank permitting him to pass on his noble status seven years after Vladimir’s birth.

Relations between the Bolsheviks and the nobility were determined not by individual relationships, but by the political philosophy of Bolshevism, the essence of which was class war – and the nobility, just like the priesthood, the bourgeoisie, and well-to-do peasants were seen as class enemies, destined for destruction.

5. “75,000 former Tsarist officers served in the Red Army (62,000 of whom were of noble origin), whereas the Whites only attracted 35,000 of the 150,000 officer corps of the Russian Empire.

Prilepin’s numbers are an arbitrary fiction concocted by the Soviet researcher Alexander Kavtaradze in the book Military Specialists in the Service of the Soviet Republic 1917-1920. His speculations were refuted in Sergey Volkov’s ground-breaking research manuscript The Tragedy of the Russian Officers.

Kavtaradze arbitrarily sums up completely different categories, such as:

1. The 8,000 officers who voluntarily signed up with the Bolsheviks to participate in the “curtain forces” shielding Russia from German forces in the spring of 1918. These were men who wanted to continue fighting the German enemy, but were betrayed by the Bolsheviks, and subsequently, a significant number of them left the Red Army or even joined up with the Whites.

2. The 48,000 former officers conscripted into the Red Army from 1918-2020, often coercively.

3. The 14,000 imprisoned White officers, who entered the Red Army to save their own lives. These former officers constituted around a quarter to a third of the command of the Red Army, but their percentage steadily declined, since the Bolsheviks didn’t trust the Tsarist military experts.

It also a manipulation to put the numbers of the officers’ corps of the Russian Empire at 150,000. That was the number of officers in the active Army, whereas the numbers given as serving the Bolsheviks included all officers, regardless of where they were in 1918 – in the rear, in hospital, etc. According to Volkov’s calculations, the size of the Russian officer corps was 276,000 at the end of 1917. Consequently, less than a quarter of all Russian officers ended up serving the Reds.

For comparison, there were 170,000 officers who took part in the White movement, of whom 55,000 died in the Civil War, and a similar number of whom ended up in the emigration.

So you still want to talk about how the cooks and bandits deceived and defeated the wonderful, blue-blooded Russian nobles, who didn’t at all renege on their oaths to the Emperor?” asks Prilepin.

The quality of the officers who went to the Bolsheviks should be discussed separately.

The Russian Army command could be separated into two main groups by 1917.

The first group were the cadre officers of the Imperial Army, like Roschin in The Road to Calvary by Alexey Tolstoy. This category was seriously depleted by the war, especially in its early stages, which predetermined the discipline crisis in the Imperial Army.

The second group constituted officers produced by the exigencies of wartime, such as the poet Nikolay Gumilev and Alexander Blok, Telegin from the aforementioned Road to Calvary, the notorious ensign Nikolay Krylenko, etc. These people were, essentially, ordinary intellectuals in epaulets, neither from military families nor possessing serious military training.

General Gurko spoke with distain about the “clerks and bathhouse attendants” turned officers. A significant part of them, ensigns, didn’t differ much from ordinary soldiers, and from the civilians, whose ranks they had recently withdrawn from. The vast majority of Red officers came from this group, while cadre officers constituted no more than 6% of the command.

Wikipedia currently lists 385 Tsarist generals who served in the Red Army. For comparison, there were close to 4,000 generals in the Imperial Russian Army in 1916, and even more by the end of 1917. No more than 10% of the generals went on to serve in the Red Army.

There were practically no top-level commanders from the First World War; for the most part, they were either staff generals (Mikhnevich, Manikovsky, Zayonchkovsky), or dashing colonels, who got their high ranks in the war. Even more telling is that the Bolsheviks did not entrust these generals with independent command, instead using them more as specialist consultants, and surrounding them with commissars. One rare exception was major-general Vladimir Olderogge, who finished off Kolchak’s army in Siberia in 1919.

However, the ultimate fate of most of the Tsarist generals and officers who went to serve the Bolsheviks is even more germane.

They were destroyed in 1931 in the Vesna case, fabricated by the OGPU. A total of 3,000 people were arrested, and many of them – including the aforementioned Olderogge – were shot. In 1937-38, those who had hitherto received only prison sentences were also shot: The great military theorist Svechin, generals Sytin, Verkhovsky, Morozov…

Consequently, we come to the following conclusion: Either the Soviets inducted enemies into the Red Army, who served it insincerely; or the Bolsheviks deliberately destroyed the officers and generals who believed them and chose to serve them out of their love for the Motherland.

6. “The Civil War was unleashed by the Whites…

The first event of the Civil War in Russia was the Bolshevik coup in Petrograd and Moscow that included such acts as the shelling of the Kremlin – that is, a usurpation of power.

Apparently, the author assumes that all citizens of the former Russian Empire had to accept the usurpation simply because some Congress of the Soviets in the capital proclaimed the transfer of power to something called the Sovnarkom.

If every usurper has the right to unconditional submission, then Major Prilepin is out of place in the Donetsk People’s Republic military. By his own logic, they are typical mutineers who failed to accept the self-proclaimed régime in Kiev and “unleashed” a war by refusing to submit to Maidan usurpers.

Fourteen (14!) foreign countries intervened in the Civil War – and, in this situation, blaming its victims on Bolshevism alone is utter hogwash.

Painting the Bolsheviks as Russia’s defenders against intervention is an old propaganda stunt.

The Entente intervention sought to contain the consequences of their largest ally’s withdrawal from the Great War, then in full swing, and the signing of a separate peace treaty by its usurper government.

Neither Britain nor France nor the US sought to annex a part of Russian territory or overthrow the Bolsheviks by military force (however successful those attempts could have been), and lent very scanty aid to the anti-Bolshevik resistance while being very assertive in demanding gold in exchange for said aid.

In Spring 1919, the Entente decided to completely cease all military intervention in the Russian Civil War. None of the different “interventions” ever posed any credible threat to the Bolshevik régime.

7. “The first pieces of legislation adopted by the Bolsheviks after their rise to power had nothing repressive in their nature. The Bolsheviks came as unprecedented idealists, liberators of the people, and democrats in the best sense of the word”.

On October 27th (November 9th New Style), the Soviets promulgated the Decree of the Press, its fourth decree up to that date.

It justified and introduced criteria for a repressive crackdown on all “bourgeois” press outlets by the Sovnarkom. They were three in total: calling for “an open resistance or disobedience to the Government of Workers and Peasants” (i.e., when a legitimate government refuses to defer to usurpers); attempts at “fomenting dissent via grossly obvious perversions of fact” (i.e., any information the Bolsheviks deemed unfavorable to their cause); and calling for “acts of patently criminal or felonious nature” (i.e., given that no Penal Code existed at the moment, acts of any nature the Sovnarkom didn’t like).

Over November and December, the preaching of violence in Soviet acts intensified: confiscation of private printing presses and reserves of paper (November 17th, this and the following dates New Style); state monopoly on public notices (November 20th); demands for arrest and trial “by the revolutionary court of the people” for anyone deemed “harmful to the people’s cause” (November 18th); explicit ban on direct and intermediary negotiations with the “leaders of the counterrevolutionary insurrection” (December 8th); arrest warrant for the leadership of Constitutional Democrats branded as the “party of the enemies of the people” (December 11th).
So much for “democrats in the best sense of the word”.

8. “Faced with an impending collapse of the Empire and separatist movements at its fringes, the Bolsheviks immediately shifted their tactics and rapidly reassembled the Empire, only permanently losing Finland and Poland, whose being a part of Russia is even now seen as irrelevant and superfluous anyway. The Bolsheviks have done nothing to merit the title of “wreckers of the Empire” – even if they called their offensive campaigns “internationalist”, their result was a traditional Russian territorial expansion.

The Bolshevik Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia, eulogized by Prilepin, explicitly allows for a “right of nations within Russia to free self-determination, including seceding and creating an independent state.

It turns out that Bolsheviks were typical hypocrites – when different nations actually tried to use the rights they were entitled to, they immediately “shifted their tactics” and turned to “territorial expansion”. Seems very familiar in the light of how the Bolsheviks treated all other human rights.

And, of course, the Bolsheviks did not expand to any territory in the end.

By the time the Civil War ended in the Russian Far East, they had lost the Baltics, Western Ukraine, and Western Belarus, ceded to Poland by the Riga peace treaty, as well as Bessarabia, annexed by Romania. Stalin took all of this back in 1939, no thanks to Bolshevism but thanks to World War II and a deal with Hitler (and none of this, save several districts transferred from Estonia and Latvia, was added to the territory of Soviet Russia proper).

The territory that got misplaced on the road to Communism included even the Uriankhai Krai (now the Tuva Republic), only reintegrated in 1944. Permanent losses included regions of Western Armenia ceded by 1921 Moscow and Kars treaties to “our friend Kemal”: Kars, many times washed by the blood of Russian soldiers, and Mount Ararat.

After recognizing Finland’s independence, Lenin, in a gesture of largesse, gave up Vyborg, conquered by Peter the Great from the Swedes.

In 1940, Vyborg returned to Russia only thanks to Marshal Mannerheim. His obstinate resistance to Soviet forces caused Stalin to abandon plans for a puppet Democratic Republic of Finland led by Otto Kuusinen. Instead of signing a treaty with the puppet state, voluntarily ceding a good half of Karelia and drawing the border south of Vyborg, the Soviet Union was forced to sign a full-fledged peace treaty with harsh conditions.

The Soviets did exactly zilch in terms of expanding Russian territory until the very capture of Lvov during Stalin’s “liberation campaign” against Poland. However, Lvov would have become a part of the Russian Empire anyway had the Tsar not been deposed. Under Stalin, Lvov became a poisoned gift that contaminated the Ukraine with the most radical strain of nationalism.

9. “Point one: there’s no Tsar. Point two: there are only White generals who are mostly okay with divvying up the country. And there are Bolsheviks who are against this divvying up.

Eulogizing about Leninist national and territorial policy is a particularly arduous affair for Prilepin. He resorts to parroting the Liberal thesis of “all empires are bound to collapse” and appealing to a treaty between Britain and France regarding the “partition of zones of influence in Russia”.

Let’s start with an outright hoax. The Whites were fighting for a united and indivisible Russia. This was the chief slogan and the main goal of the White movement. Gens. Kolchak, Denikin, and Wrangel alike were adamantly against recognizing any separatist statelets that had sprung up in the territory of the Russian Empire.

As has been said, treating a British-French agreement signed on December 23, 1917, and establishing zones of responsibility of Entente powers in the South of Russia, with the Great War still ongoing, as a “partition of Russia between Britain and France”, is entirely baseless.

The author may fulminate against the idea of Bolshevism as the culprit that had planted the bomb under Russian territorial unity as much as he wishes to. But nothing can be done to disprove the fact that the Bolsheviks established a “Kyrgyz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic” in 1925, rechristened the Kazakh Republic in 1925, its capital until that year having been Orenburg. Such was the revenge of the Bolsheviks against the Orenburg Cossack Host for their resistance. That Russian city having been transferred away from Kazakhstan and back to Russia is nothing short of a miracle. Many other parts of Southern Siberia were much less lucky.

The Soviets, everywhere they could reach, created republics with a right to autonomy and secession, created “titular ethnicities” [2], granted them development funds, constructed their histories and gave them Latin-based writing systems (something reattempted by Nursultan Nazarbayev with much fanfare). [3] Terry Martin’s study The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939 is a terrific analysis of this process.

Mykhailo Hrushevsky, the founding father of Ukrainian separatism, came to enact, in his capacity as President of the Ukrainian Soviet Academy of Sciences, more than he ever could dream of as President of the Ukrainian People’s Republic – turning millions of Little Russian peasants into “Ukrainians”.

Ukrainization was a central policy of the Soviets in the 1920s – 1930s and never ceased completely in later eras. Indeed, Stalin did dampen those processes somewhat (even though he upgraded Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Karelia-Finland from autonomies to full-fledged Soviet republics, the latter fortunately abolished by Khrushchev), but they never stopped for the entirety of the Soviet régime.

Finally, the artificial borders chartered by Communists exploded in 1991 thanks to Liberals.

Who is to blame for falling to the ground – the one who laboriously sawed the chair’s legs or the one who carelessly parked his rear end on its seat?

10. “They say Patriarch Tikhon anathematized the Bolsheviks, and that’s why one cannot support them. But neither did he bless or endorse the White movement.

The Patriarch did not anathematize the Bolsheviks, only those who enacted cruel persecutions against the Church and Orthodox Christians, those who murdered priests, robbed churches, stripped decorations from icons, desecrated holy vessels, and so on.

However, he did censure Bolsheviks proper in his epistle dated October 13 (26), 1918, and his words are a dreadful argument against Prilepin himself:

Our great Motherland is conquered, diminished, and dismembered, and, as a tribute imposed upon her, you secretly send to Germany the gold that doesn’t belong to you.

No one feels safe anymore. Everyone lives in constant fear of searches, robbery, eviction, arrest, and execution. Innocents are taken by the hundred, tortured in prisons for months, often put to death with no trial or jury, even an expedited trial that you introduced.

The executions affect not only those guilty before you in some way but even those who are patently blameless but taken as “hostages”. Those unfortunates are murdered as a revenge for crimes enacted by people who not only don’t have opinions similar to theirs but also support you or have convictions comparable to yours.

First, under the name of “bourgeoisie”, you robbed well-to-do people; then, under the name of “kulaks”, you turned to robbing richer and more diligent peasants, thus multiplying poverty, even though you must realize that, by ruining a great multitude of individual citizens, you destroy public wealth and lead the entire country to destitution.

In this context, it seems that the point of whether the Patriarch, taken hostage by the Bolsheviks and subject to constant mortal danger, supported the Whites or not is moot.

11. “The Bolsheviks nationalized the industries, harming the interests of large-scale capitalists by siding with those of the laborers. The class most interested in the Civil War were, metaphorically speaking, the Russian Forbes 500…

The identity of the laborers that the Bolsheviks sided with is rather unclear. Were they factory workers doomed to several years of devastation, famine, and non-functional plants? Or peasants, languishing from the terror of Prodrazvyorstka and Kombeds [4] and later rising up in the Tambov rebellion [5] (and many others), suffocated with chemical weapons?

When the “exploiters” were in charge, the Russian economy grew by 8% a year; it took the Soviets more than a decade to reach its 1913 levels.

Regarding the “Russian Forbes 500”: with the exception of Russia’s richest man Nikolay Vtorov, murdered in 1918 in Moscow under suspicious circumstances, the others emigrated and saw the twilight of their years in Paris or Monaco. In the 1920s, Mikhail Tereshchenko’s 127-meter yacht, the Lolanthe, was the world’s largest yacht afloat.

Meanwhile, the living standards of the proletariat liberated from the yoke of capitalists and Tsarist social legislation was graphically described by poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, the chief panegyrist of Bolshevism: “Workers sitting in the dark, munching on damp bread.”

This was all peanuts compared to what came next: a system of forced labor, the main know-how of Stalinist industrialization. Having no means of concentrating enough capital to fulfill his 5-year plan, Comrade Stalin found an elegant solution – dropping the costs of the other industrial factor, labor itself, to near zero.

For the first time in history, the world saw a modern industrialization based on slave labor. The Bolsheviks were successful in annihilating private capital. The state remained the sole capitalist. And it was the state, not individual businessmen, who conducted negotiations with workers, with the barrel of an NKVD pistol as its ultima ratio.

While their comrades in both Europe and America successfully campaigned for better wages and welfare and formed the system of the social state, Russian workers spent decades in slave-like conditions and deemed themselves lucky if they weren’t converted from slaves of the 5-year plan to bondsmen of the Gulag.

12. “The main victor of the Civil War was the Russian People. The Russian Revolution of November 7th 1917 is an achievement, a victory, and a tragedy of the Russian nation. It is fully responsible for it, and has every right to be proud of this momentous achievement that changed the course of world history.

I won’t contest that the Russian People emerged victorious from the Civil War. If many, all too many Russians hadn’t thrown their lot with Bolshevism, either actively or by submission, no Latvian riflemen or Chinese volunteers could have led Lenin and his gang to victory.

The Russians, however, won a victory over themselves and their kin who dared to side with honor, God’s truth, and a tormented Fatherland, the united and indivisible Russia. This victory led all who kowtowed before Bolshevism to decades of poverty, terror, slavery, and Kafkaesque everyday life. Their only daily consolation was the hope of suffering for the greater good, a Grand Project.

No one reminded those people that only recently Tsarist Russia had completed one of the most astounding projects in the history of mankind, the transcontinental Trans-Siberian railway. It was achieved with no waste or exhaustion, no payment of tens of thousands of human lives for an infrastructural breakthrough.

Every human community, including the Russians, has a basic set of values and goals. Spiritual: spreading its worldview and faith, bolstering its national character and original creativity in national culture. Material: increasing the welfare of the nation and expanding its numbers. (Geo)political: increasing its national habitat and the security of its borders.

The Russians failed to achieve any of those goals over the 20th century as a direct consequence of the Bolshevik coup.

The Russian Orthodox Church endured a most savage persecution that put it on the brink of extinction. The originality of Russian culture was forcibly erased, having just reached its fin de siècle apex. Russians were subjected to decades of horrific poverty, terror, and famine, falling into a demographic abyss of enormous proportions.

The Bolshevik period ended with a rapid contraction of Russian borders, a reduction of Russian habitat, and our people turned, even within Russia itself, into second-grade citizens.

If this passes as a victory, then our goal is not to triumph over ourselves in this fashion once again.

Translator’s Notes

[1] This entire paragraph does not appear in the Vzglyad text, but did appear in Kholmogorov’s original draft. I considered it too good not to translate and publish anyway. – AK

[2] A semi-official term for ethnic groups whose name coincided with the name of an autonomy of a full-fledged republic in both the USSR and modern Russia (even though they weren’t/aren’t necessarily the most populous ethnicity), e.g. Kazakhs in Kazakhstan, Ukrainians in the Ukraine, Bashkirs in Bashkortostan, etc. Most of the time, the “titular” ethnicity was/is given the largest leeway possible by the central Soviet/Russian government.

[3] Reference to a recent decree of the Kazakh President proclaiming the shift the Kazakh alphabet from Cyrillic- to Latin-based , to be completed by 2025.

[4] The Prodrazvyorstka was a Soviet policy of forceful grain confiscation, formally reimbursed with a nominal fee much lower than the market price, leading to mass pauperization of peasants and famine. Kombeds (Poor Peasants’ Committees) were organs of Soviet power in rural settlements, mostly charged with enacting said policy.

[5] A 1920-21 peasant insurrection in the Volga region caused by mass grain requisitions and other forms of Soviet-sanctioned abuse, leaving more than 200,000 civilians dead. Often claimed as the first documented use of chemical weapons in internal conflict.

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“Unfriendly Relations” with Russia, American Imperialism and the Dangers of Nuclear War

NOVANEWS

“Unfriendly Relations” with Russia, American Imperialism and the Dangers of Nuclear War: Trump and the Wolfowitz Doctrine

 

As President Trump affirms publicly his commitment to friendly relations with Russia at an economic summit in Hanoi, (the first President since Franklin Roosevelt to do so), the press backs the special prosecutor seeking to indict him, while NATO continues to ramp up its forces on Russia’s borders with Europe by bringing in tanks and other ‘defensive’ weapons. 

Although the United States was founded on Christian principles, and has one of the highest percentages of people practicing a religion of any Western country, most Americans seem not to realize that their country is building a case for nuclear war with the other major nuclear power. Until recently, Americans believed that while nuclear weapons were a necessary evil — because our enemies had them — every effort should be made to avoid using them. Now, Russian ‘behavior’ in its own back yard is seen as justifying an American attack, the inevitable use of nukes merely a slight detour on the path of human progress.

Has Russia done anything that even comes close to war-ranting talk of war?

Its two alleged sins are ‘invading’ Ukraine and ‘interfering’ in a sacred American exercise.

Interestingly, rather than using the word ‘election’, the beltway refers to Russia’s internet capers as ‘interfering in our Democracy’. Ever since the highest court baptized corporations as people, allowing them to spend unlimited money to help their candidates win elections, democracy has been spelled with a capital D, the media breathlessly zeroing in on the amounts candidates raise, rather than on the ideas they espouse. Vladimir Putin’s sin is not to have drawn a sword. 

These accusations only work because Americans were taught to regard Russia as an ‘evil empire’for having embraced a political philosophy intended to ensure the well-being of the 99%, (whether or not it succeeded). When, after seventy years, it executed a stunning turnaround, allowing capitalism to flourish (creating a lot of crooks and billionaires in the process), American policymakers could have applauded. Instead, Washington began building a case for confrontation.

The rationale behind this behavior is Washington’s stated plan to carve up the world’s largest country into loyal fiefdoms to ensure continuing American world hegemony. I’ve mentioned the Wolfowitz Doctrine before, but until it becomes mandatory high school reading, Americans will believe congressional and special investigations are necessary as a prelude to war.

Drafted in 1992, a year after the Soviet Union imploded, by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz (image right) and never superseded, under the humdrum title of Defense Planning Guidance, its purpose was and is 

“to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.” (emphasis added)

The notion of an imperial presidency did not do justice to this set of detailed policy recommendations intended to ensure that no country is ever able to challenge American hegemony. When it was leaked to the New York TimesSenator Edward Kennedy described its recommendation of pre-emptive military action to prevent any other nation from rising to superpower status as “a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept.” Confronted with widespread condemnation, the document was rewritten in softer language, and when the US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan – neither of which could possibly challenge American hegemony – it became known as the Bush doctrine. 

Continued uninterruptedly at the cost of thousands of American, and especially foreign lives, some might see in it echoes of Hitler’s plan for a thousand year Reich, but sadly, most Americans believe their country is merely — and generously! —exercising ‘benevolent oversight’ over an innocent ‘rules-based’ order. As rewritten, the Defense Planning Guidance lays out pious aspirations:

“Our most fundamental goal is to deter or defeat attack from whatever source… The second goal is to strengthen and extend the system of defense arrangements that binds democratic and like-minded nations together in common defense against aggression, build habits of cooperation, avoid the re-nationalization of security policies, and provide security at lower costs and with lower risks for all. Our preference for a collective response to preclude threats or, if necessary, to deal with them is a key feature of our regional defense strategy. The third goal is to preclude any hostile power from dominating a region critical to our interests, and also thereby to strengthen the barriers against the re-emergence of a global threat to the interests of the U.S. and our allies.” 

No matter how it is couched, the Wolfowitz Doctrine is the twenty-year old foreign policy guide that Donald Trump’s ‘naive’ foreign policy goals challenge, provoking a no holds barred assault by those who helped him get elected. Americans are aware of the Authorization for the Use of Force (AUF) which theoretically has to be voted by Congress for the US to be able to attack another country, but they lack the key tool to make sense of US foreign policy.

Although Russia and China are the only countries capable of challenging US dominance, they have made no threats. To understand Washington’s seeming obsession with preventing it ever happening, we need to back up to 2007. In a landmark speech to the 2007 Munich International Security Conference, Vladimir Putin advocated an international architecture in which the four or five regional powers would cooperate on the international stage to ensure peace and prosperity for all. Since any form of power-sharing contradicts the Wolfowitz doctrine, the US responded by fomenting a series of color revolutions, starting with Georgia in 2008, then Ukraine in 2014 aimed at eventually carving up Russia itself that dared propose such a thing into obedient fiefdoms, presumably before taking on the other major power, China.  

In 2014, NPR broadcast a discussion between Russia’s Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, and journalist Corey Flintoff, in which the Russian says:

“The socioeconomic problems of some countries are used as an e cuse to replace nationally-oriented governments with regimes controlled from abroad. Those regimes provide their patrons with unimpeded access to these countries’ resources…”

This suggests that President Putin was well aware of the Wolfowitz doctrine when the US assiduously backed the ‘freedom fighters’ in Kiev’s Maidan Square, who eventually overthrew the pro-Russian president, Victor Yanukovich (whose image Paul Manafort was paid to polish…).

Washington was not concerned by the leading role played by private, far-right militias who worship the memory of nationalist Stepan Bandera, who fought with the Nazis in World War II, expecting a victorious Hitler to grant Ukraine independence from the Soviet Union.

Neo-Nazi March in Kiev, portrait of Bandera

In fact, Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of State for Eastern European Affairs, Victoria Nuland, personally kept up the rebellion’s morale by handing out cookies in the Maidan encampments. When Yanukovich was forced to flee for his life, she chose his successor in consultation with then American Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, in a telephone conversa-tion which can be found on the web.  

Nuland and Pyatt in Kiev

Here we must back up to Ukraine’s tragic history as part of a changing set of entities that included some or all of its neighbors, Russia, Poland and the Baltic states, only achieving independence between 1917 and 1921. Ukraine’s nationalist aspirations continue to take precedence over any repugnance its people might feel vis a vis the Neo-Nazi militias, who in fact took over security after the 2014 coup. Attitudes are very different, however, among the Russian-speaking population located in the east of the country along the Russian border. Unbeknownst to most Americans, the Soviet Union lost 26 million people in repelling Hitler from its territory and liberating Eastern Europe. So when the coup government in Kiev removed equal status for the Russian language, referring to Russians as ‘cockroaches’, the inhabitants of Donetsk and Lugansk took up arms.

They would have preferred to rejoin the mother country, but President Putin, who has a degree in international law, made clear that this was not going to happen. Instead, he backed their demands for significant local autonomy, helping the peoples’ militias resist attacks by Kiev’s troops. True to the Wolfowitz playbook, President Obama accused him of ‘invading’ his neighbor, acting ‘as though might makes right’.. 

“Wolfowitz” attributes even greater importance to events in Crimea. As in Eastern Ukraine, ninety percent of the peninsula’s inhabitants are also Russians, but the context is different: Russia cannot afford to lose its one warm water naval base, built by Catherine the Great in Sebastopol, so Putin organized a referendum, knowing Crimeans would vote overwhelmingly to rejoin the mother country. In fact, Crimea had always been part of Russia until in 1954, Khruschev gifted it to Ukraine. Currently, the Duma is discussing a bill that would rescind Khruschev’s decision, eliminating the peg upon which the US hangs its accusations of Russian illegality. 

(Among the more than 800 American military bases worldwide, twelve are in tiny South Korea, while only three Russian bases are located outside the borders of the Commonwealth of independent States, which replaced the Soviet Union. These consist of one air base and one port in Syria and a naval resupply facility in Vietnam.)

Under these circumstances and as a man committed to making deals rather than wars, candidate Trump announced his desire to improve relations with Russia, approved by a public that has long since forgotten the Wolfowitz Doctrine. However, for Washington bureaucrats, who remain the same from one president to the next, Wolfowitz remains the law of the land, and trips to Moscow that could be construed as ‘political’ were criminal. Russia having gone from being ‘foreign’ to ‘adversary’ to ‘enemy’ on the basis of its so-called ‘invasion’ of Ukraine, American citizens are required to signal any encounter with Russians to the FBI! Saudi Arabia can bomb tiny Yemen to smithereens, in the biggest ethnic cleansing ever, but talking to Russians can land you in jail. 

Relations between Obama and Putin, and even more so, between Hillary Clinton and the Russian President, were already so bad even before the election, that the US media accused the Russian President of purposely introducing a large dog into one of their meetings, knowing that Hillary fears canines. (Putin shows off his dogs the way Trump shows off his Mandarin-singing granddaughter, but according to the Kremlin, when he noticed Hillary’s discomfort, he apologized and dismissed the dog.)

Such ‘unverifiables’ litter the US/Russia relationship, but Hillary’s fear of dogs is by far more credible than is Russia’s ‘invasion’ of Ukraine. Had it actually occurred, Kiev would have fallen in twenty-four hours. And yet, Paul Manafort’s scrubbing from the Republican presidential platform of a promise to provide weapons to Kiev, is condemned as favoring Russia rather than as depriving a Neo-Nazi regime of the means to kill its own citizens.

In the end, Russiagate is just another example of America’s fairytale foreign policy: are Muslim militias, whether Hezbollah or Hamas, ‘terrorists’, or patriotic challenges to plans for a greater Israel?

As we witness the suspicious resignation of Lebanon’s Prime Minister via television from the Saudi capital, the reputation of the Saudi’s nemesis, Iran — which has not attacked another country in three hundred years, should depend upon the answer to that question. However, Americans are constantly reminded that during its 1979 revolution, Iran held fifty-two US Embassy staff hostage for 444 days! Unmentioned is the fact that its revolution was in response to the situation created twenty-six years earlier, when the US carried out a coup against the elected government that was about to nationalize Iran’s oil, replacing him with the Shah, who gave us the oil and ruled with an iron fist.

(Iran and Russia have long been allies, but because America’s political elite cannot imagine that the relationship is based on shared values, it thinks it can drive a wedge between them. A similar delusion applies to the Iran nuclear deal: to their credit, our European allies have warned the US that it cannot unilaterally abandon the agreement because the Western signatories are indivisible.)  

Whether or not one applauds the election of Donald Trump,  it should be obvious that if the nuclear great powers do not maintain friendly relations, the future of mankind is in jeopardy.

Why should Russia’s ‘behavior’ in its own back yard justify plans for war?

Why, instead of handing out medals to those who reached out to Russia, are we threatening to ruin their lives?

Why do those who hope that President Trump will not challenge North Korea to a nuclear exchange not also worry about the missiles we installed in Europe, to be launched against Russia in the event that it were to ‘invade’ the tiny Baltic countries to defend their Russian minorities? (This could conceivably happen were we to also install Neo-fascist regimes in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as the next step in trying to separate Russia from its ‘near abroad…..)

As long as the regime we installed in Kiev could be seen as merely ‘tolerating’ torchlight marches by far-right militias proclaiming their allegiance to Hitler ally Stepan Bandera, the media could ignore it (between visits by the likes of Senator John McCain).

Just recently, however, President Poroshenko’s (image right) government promoted the worst pages in Ukraine’s history with a statue of a leader who oversaw the killing of thousands of Jews before Hitler came to power. Symon Petliura is sculpted sitting on a bench with papers in his hand, as if he were a thinker rather than a mass murderer, as Kiev continues to be an ‘inspiration for far-right political parties winning elections across Europe.

Meanwhile, American citizens can only watch, powerless, as the country that founded the United Nations envisions destroying significant parts of the world in order to continue dominating what remains — in the name of its exceptionalism.

Posted in USA, Russia0 Comments

How to Instantly Prove (Or Disprove) Russian Hacking of U.S. Election

NOVANEWS
 

It’s newsworthy that CIA head Mike Pompeo recently met with Bill Binney – who designed the NSA’s electronic surveillance system – about potential proof that the DNC emails were leaked rather than hacked.

It’s also noteworthy that the usual suspects – Neocon warmongers such as Max Boot – have tried to discredit both Binney and Pompeo.

But there’s a huge part of the story that the entire mainstream media is missing …

Specifically, Binney says that the NSA has long had in its computers information which can prove exactly who hacked the DNC … or instead prove that the DNC emails were leaked by a Democratic insider.

Remember – by way of background – that the NSA basically spies on everyone in America … and stores the data long-term.

After the story of Pompeo’s meeting with Binney broke, Binney told Washington’s Blog:

Here’s what they would have from the programs you list [i.e. NSA’s FairviewStormbrew and Blarney spying programs, which Edward Snowden revealed] plus hundreds if not thousands of trace route programs embedded in switches in the US and around the world.

First, from deep packet inspection, they would have the originator and ultimate recipient (IP) of the packets plus packet series 32 bit number identifier and all the housekeeping data showing the network segments/path and time to go though the network.  And, of course, the number of packet bits. With this they would know to where and when the data passed.

From the data collection, they would have all the data as it existed in the server taken from.  That’s why I originally said if the FBI wanted Hillary’s email, all they have to do is ask NSA for them.

All this is done by the Narus collection equipment in real time at line rates (620 mbps [mega bits per second,] for the STA-6400 and 10 gbps [giga bits per second] for the Insight equipment).

Binney explained what these numbers mean:  Each Narus Insight device can monitor and record around 1,250,000 emails each second … or more than 39 trillion emails per year.

Wired reported in 2006:

Whistle-blower Klein allegedly learned that AT&T was installing Narus boxes in secure, NSA-controlled rooms in switching centers around the country.

Binney told us there are probably 18 or so Narus recording systems throughout the U.S. deployed by the NSA at AT&T facilities, drawing our attention to the following NSA document leaked by Edward Snowden:

Fairview At a Glance - Snowden

And this AT&T graphic:

AT&T Global Internet Centers

(Binney has figured out their locations from publicly-available sources. He has also mapped out similar monitoring systems at Verizon facilities.)

Binney also sent me hard-to-find company literature for Narus.  Here are some interesting excerpts:

NarusInsight …

  • Provides full visibility into network traffic …
  • Analyzes at macro or micro level targeting specific or aggregate full-packet data for forensic analysis

And:

Universal data collection from links, routers, soft switches, IDS/IPS, databases, etc. provides total network view across the world’s largest IP networks.

Binney also pointed me towards a couple of network engineering principles that show that figuring out who hacked the emails (or proving they were leaked) is well within NSA’s capabilities.

Initially, when data is transmitted online, it is sent using the TCP/IP Packet format.  Put simply, data is not sent in a vacuum, but rather as part of a bundle containing a lot of other information.

Here’s the TCP part of the bundle:

And here’s the IP part of the bundle:

So any data analyst can learn a tremendous amount about the source address of the sender, the destination address of the receiver and a boatload of other information by using a “packet sniffer” to  inspect the “packets” of information being sent over the web.

Additionally, it’s simple to conduct “traceroute” searches. “Traceroute” is a computer network diagnostic tool for displaying the route and measuring transit delays of packets across an Internet Protocol network.

Wired reported in 2006:

Anything that comes through (an internet protocol network), we can record,” says Steve Bannerman, marketing vice president of Narus, a Mountain View, California, company. “We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their (voice over internet protocol) calls.”

So NSA can easily basic packet sniffers and traceroutes, And see this.

Remember, Edward Snowden says the NSA could easily determine who hacked the Democratic National Committee’s emails:

Even if the attackers try to obfuscate origin, makes following exfiltrated data easy. I did this personally against Chinese ops.

Binney told us:

Snowden is right and the MSM is clueless.

***

Do they have evidence that the Russians downloaded and later forwarded those emails to wikileaks? Seems to me that they need to answer those questions to be sure that their assertion is correct.

***

You can tell from the network log who is going into a site.  I used that on networks that I had.  I looked to see who came into my LAN, where they went, how long they stayed and what they did while in my network.

Further, if you needed to, you could trace back approaches through other servers etc. Trace Route and Trace Watch are good examples of monitoring software that help do these things.  Others of course exist … probably the best are in NSA/GCHQ and the other Five Eyes countries.  But, these countries have no monopoly on smart people that could do similar detection software.

He explained:

If it were the Russians, NSA would have a trace route to them and not equivocate on who did it.  It’s like using “Trace Route” to map the path of all the packets on the network.  In the program Treasuremap NSA has hundreds of trace route programs embedded in switches in Europe and hundreds more around the world.  So, this set-up should have detected where the packets went and when they went there.

He added:

As Edward Snowden said, once they have the IP’s and/or other signatures of 28/29 [the supposed Russian hacking groups] and DNC/HRC/etc. [i.e. the DNC and Hillary Rodham Clinton], NSA would use Xkeyscore to help trace data passing across the network and show where it went. [Background.]

In addition, since Wikileaks is (and has been) a cast iron target for NSA/GCHQ/etc for a number of years there should be no excuse for them missing data going to any one associated with Wikileaks.

***

Too many words means they don’t have clear evidence of how the data got to Wikileaks.

And he stressed:

If the idiots in the intelligence community expect us to believe them after all the crap they have told us (like WMD’s in Iraq and “no we don’t collect data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans”) then they need to give clear proof of what they say. So far, they have failed to prove anything.

Which suggests they don’t have proof and just want to war monger the US public into a second cold war with the Russians.

After all, there’s lots and lots of money in that for the military-industrial-intelligence-governmental complex of incestuous relationships.

***

If you recall, a few years ago they pointed to a specific building in China that was where hacks on the US were originating. So, let’s see the same from the Russians. They don’t have it. That’s why they don’t show it. They want to swindle us again and again and again. You can not trust these intelligence agencies period.

And he told Newsweek:

U.S. officials “know how many people [beyond the Russians] could have done this but they aren’t telling us anything. All they’re doing is promoting another cold war.”

Binney … compared allegations about Russian hacks to previous U.S. fabrications of intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the bombing of North Vietnam in 1964.

“This is a big mistake, another WMD or Tonkin Gulf affair that’s being created until they have absolute proof” of Russian complicity in the DNC hacks, he charged during a Newsweek interview. He noted that after the Kremlin denied complicity in the downing of a Korean Airlines flight in 1983, the U.S. “exposed the conversations where [Russian pilots] were ordered to shoot it down.” Obama officials “have the evidence now” of who hacked the DNC, he charged. “So let’s see it, guys.“

NSA either doesn’t have solid evidence of Russian hacking of DNC emails – which means the Russians didn’t do it – or those with the power to demand NSA produce the evidence simply haven’t asked the right questions.

Posted in USA, Russia0 Comments

Zionist puppet May screams ‘Russia’ as her domestic support collapses

NOVANEWS

Image result for Zionist Theresa May CARTOON

Theresa May screams ‘Russia’ as her domestic support collapses

The British PM has decided to play the Putin card as an excuse for her declining poll numbers

(Facing mounting pressure at home, UK Prime Minister Theresa May took aim at Russia, accusing it of the tried and trusted sins of endangering global security, election meddling, hacking attacks and spreading fake news, in what seems a desperate lunge for support.

Russia has emerged as the top threat to European democracy and security, May claimed as she delivered her remarks at the Lord Mayor’s banquet Monday. The embattled PM chose to focus her speech on international challenges rather than domestic issues, which she is struggling to deliver on. The apparent diversion comes amid reports of a potential no-confidence vote in Parliament Tuesday and in light of scant progress at the Brexit negotiations, which is increasingly being blamed on May’s lack of leadership skills.

Instead of asserting herself as a leader capable of guiding Britain through Brexit, May fell in line with the US mainstream narrative on Russia, repeating the by now worn out allegations of interference in other nations’ internal affairs, which Moscow firmly denies.

Russia is “threatening the international order on which we all depend,” May claimed, alleging that Moscow has been doing so by“meddling in elections, and hacking the Danish ministry of defense and the Bundestag [the German parliament] among many others.”

Russia is responsible for a range of hostile actions, such as its“sustained campaign of cyber-espionage and disruption,” to its military jets routinely crossing into foreign airspaces and it is to blame for fueling military conflict in the Eastern Ukraine, according to May.

Falling short of providing examples, May accused the Kremlin for using Russian media “to plant fake stories and photo-shopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the west and undermine our institutions.”

As the UK is seeking to leave the EU while inflicting as little damage on its economy as possible, May pointed to the need to resist the perceived “Russian threat” as an argument in favor of maintaining strong economic ties between the UK and the rest of the bloc.

“The comprehensive new economic partnership we seek will underpin our shared commitment to open economies and free societies in the face of those who seek to undermine them. Chief among those today, of course, is Russia,” she said.

Speaking directly to the Russian government, she warned of repercussions, without providing any details on what potential countermeasures would entail.

“We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed,” she said, again without specifying. She added that Russia should not underestimate the stability and what she branded as “the enduring attraction” of western society.

After urging all western countries to build a united front to confront an omnipotent Russia, effectively echoing Cold War rhetoric, May then took a more conciliatory tone, saying that “we do not want to return to the Cold War, or to be in state of perpetual confrontation” with Russia. To this end, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will travel to Moscow in the coming months, she noted.

The ball, according to May, is in Russia’s court. The PM said as long as Moscow does not change its ‘behavior,’ Europe will “act together to protect our interests and the international order on which they depend.”

Scapegoat Russia

Theresa May, who is facing “an almost certain end to her brief career” in politics, is now bringing out the old scapegoat that is Russia, Managing Editor at The Duran.com Adam Garrie told RT. According to Garrie, whenever a politician is about to lose or in the process of actually losing, he or she points the finger at Russia.

“The little sister of America has truly spoken. Her [May’s] popularity among [the] parliamentary class is very low and her popularity among the general public is even lower,” he said.

Garrie believes May’s statement about Russia is not only inaccurate, but also doesn’t have “any logical sense at all.” “It’s just blind accusations from the US. Britain generally follows the US, its big brother,” he added.

Russia, is being blamed so often it seems, for everything, that it has almost become a joke, political commentator Adrian Yalland told RT, arguing that while Russia “needs to answer some questions” the West needs to come to terms with the fact that Russia has reemerged as a great power and will continue to reassert itself.

“The West needs to actually take a step back and have a listen to what is going on, to understand that Russia is coming off back from seventy years of communism, quite right to reassert its sense of national identity and to project it strongly on the global stage,” he said.

If the West seeks a “fresh beginning” with Russia, it should acknowledge that ”Russia has its place in the world and the West has to respect this.”

Posted in Russia, UK0 Comments

Interview with Jacob Djugashvili – Stalin’s great-grandson

NOVANEWS

We commemorate the October Revolution with Jacob Djugashvili, great-grandson of Joseph Stalin, in our interview.

 

Saint Comrade Stalin  

Can you tell me about yourself, your life, and what you currently do? What messages do you try to communicate through your work?

[To begin, remember that] Stalin was married twice. His first wife was a Georgian, Ekaterina Semenovna Svanidze, and in 1907, they gave a birth to a son—Yakov. That same year, she died of typhus. Yakov would later start a relationship with Olga Pavlovna Golysheva, however, they never officially married. They then gave a birth to a son—Evgeniy—my father.

During [World War II], the USSR opened the Suvorovsk Military and Hakhimov Naval Schools, which recruited the orphaned children of soldiers killed whilst at war. My father was enrolled at the Suvorovsk Military School in Kalinin (present-day Tver). After graduating from secondary school, he decided to dedicate his life to the military and became a career soldier. He attended Gukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy and began working as a military representative at the factories of Sergey Korolev for a long time.

He participated in the research and development of Soviet rockets, and towards the end of his life, he managed to write an autobiography. It was published in Moscow three years ago and was titled, My Grandfather Stalin: A Saint”. Two years ago, he started editing the book and managed to make all the necessary corrections, but didn’t make it to the publisher—he died right there in the street, on the way to the editor last year, on the 22nd of December. After his funeral, I brought the edited version to the publishers and this summer, the new book finally appeared in book stores in Moscow.

[I am an artist, and] I think that, due to the advancements in equipment and technology, painting has lost its role as an instrument of propaganda and means to convey ideas and thoughts to people. If a painter has any ideas that are useful to others, he or she may express them to others through text or speech, using modern recording methods. Despite this, painting is initially HOW and only afterwards WHAT, and is valuable because it is created by a human. It’s well known that humans make mistakes, unlike a machine or other technical piece of equipment, but man’s ability to correct a mistake by finding a solution that wasn’t taught at school or university, sometimes out of the blue, is called creativity. The more interesting and creatively an artist works, the more valuable it is.

The October Centenary will take place on 7 November, which marks 100 years after the Russian revolution in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg). What is the significance of this historical event? Why should the working class never forget it?

Russian and Soviet philosopher A.A. Zinoviev, who was banished from USSR in 1977 for anti-Soviet propaganda, said in the 2000s that,

“[The] Revolution of 1917 year saved Russia from perishing, continued its history as a great nation, and preserved and multiplied its greatest achievements. To regard the Soviet period of Russian history as a black failure is a monstrous lie. Actually, that black failure has come only now. Nowadays in Russia, there has indeed been a complete breakdown of generations—[on a] political, civil, ideological, cultural, moral, and psychological [level]—There has never been an ideal power and never will, but rather, the ideal is an abstraction. 

The most ideal political figures in the history of mankind, in my opinion, were two people: Napoleon and Stalin. I call the 19th century the century of Napoleon and the 20th the century of Stalin. I put Stalin above Lenin; however, as a revolutionary, creator, and organiser of the Soviet state, Lenin is an epoch-making figure.

There are no ideal state systems either, and it is necessary to evaluate [them] by how adequate they are for historical conditions. The western system is perceived by [many] as the most ideal; Yes, for western countries. But when transferred to non-Western countries, it’s nonsense. The attempts to transfer these systems to Russia brought it to collapse and [almost] lead to its ultimate destruction. The most ideal [system] for Russian conditions was the Soviet model, and this was the peak of its history.

I tell you this as a person who was anti-Stalinist from youth, who would have been shot in the ‘40s for attempting terrorist activities against Stalin. However, it’s one thing to be anti-Stalinist and another to evaluate the Stalinist era as a scientist. From this point of view, I have always treated Stalin as the greatest political figure of [the 20th] century and haven’t changed my opinion. There were years of studying, discovering, and at the end of the life, I admit that, indeed, the Soviet system was the most adequate for Russian conditions…”

There’s no better way to say it.

Can you tell us about your great-grandfather, Joseph Djugashvili? Can you describe his personality, legacy, accomplishments, as well as your personal feelings about him? Can you give us an accurate understanding of what happened in the USSR under his service as the General Secretariat?

The events that took place during Stalin’s life and his role in these events are two different things. To understand Stalin’s role at that time, firstly, it is necessary to understand the nature of these events. Most people that talk about the history of USSR do not understand this most important detail. In the USSR, there never existed a single dictatorship, as was in Western democracies. Instead, there was a collective dictatorship—the Central Committee of the [Communist Party]—which was more than 70 people, and most of them were first secretaries of regional party organisations. This organ was the dictator, not Stalin, but it was Stalin who was considered as its leader. Why?

The fact is that this collective—the Central Committee—was responsible for the correctness of the tasks undertaken and carried by the government as a politicalorgan of leadership. In this type of leadership, the one who is smarter, more honest, fairer, more efficient, etc. always stands out. Stalin was made the leader for the qualities of his personality, but was not given a powerful position until May 1941, or how some idiot researchers write that, “Stalin became the leader by chance”. 

In reality, Stalin was made the leader in a kind of captivity. He was not “almighty” at all, but had an ability to persuade others and justify the correctness of his vision on this or that matter. While evaluating and making decisions, he also needed to persuade other members of Central Committee in its correctness so that the state could implement it.

Yes, indeed, most of Stalin’s proposals were enthusiastically accepted by the majority of the Central Committee because, firstly, this saved them from having to delve into the essence of rising issues (why should one have to think when there is already a “workhorse” Stalin?), and secondly, these issues did not concern their personal careers. As soon as Stalin put forward the idea that it was time to turn the country into a truly  communistic power, which meant ending the dictatorship of the party (i.e. finishing with party secretaries) and handing it over to the Soviet people in the USSR, then those party secretaries decided to commit the crimes later referred to as the “Stalinist repressions”.

Due to Stalin’s powers of persuasion, he managed to convince the majority of Central Committee members of the need to dismiss the head of the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs—[Nicholai] Yezhov—who, with his subordinates, imprisoned innocent people. Without the “ideas” of the first secretaries, sabotaging Stalin’s reforms would have been impossible.  

The Soviet Union was the world’s first socialist government and through it, the working class people of the world accomplished many great things. Can you tell us about life in the USSR? What were some of its greatest achievements and criticisms?

I personally believe that there is a class of parasites and a class of creators. People should be distinguished by their goals in life and not by the amount of capital that belongs to them. For me, there is no difference between the rich and poor if both have the same goal in life: to be a parasite, only to take from the community and not give anything in return, to eat and relax. For me, both are [rubbish].

Communism is a society of creators [and] should not come as a result of the development of technology, as most people claim, but as a result of society’s development. The Soviet Union was an attempt to change people and make creators out of them. For me, the USSR firstly [represents] all those values and the ideas that come from them, which formed the basis of the Soviet project. It is important for me to understand the purpose of the USSR as its founders, and especially I.V. Stalin, saw it. I’m trying to convey those values to others so that in the future, I hope, they will help us to become one people again.

According to the Levanda Centre, 87% of Russians did not want the Soviet Union to collapse. How did the end of the USSR change international relations? What do you think of the Russian renaissance under Vladimir Putin, compared to life in the USSR?

The Russian elite are parasites that do not participate in producing the means to ensure the livelihoods of its people, but lives exclusively at the expense of taxes collected from citizens. What kind of renaissance are you talking about?

What message would you like to give to the global proletariat? What lessons can the October centenary teach them? What does it mean to be a Socialist or Communist, in your honest opinion?

[Again] I do not divide people into classes, and for me there are working people (creators) and parasites. To be a communist, one does not necessarily have to be a member of any party or carry the title of “communist” or “labourer.” To be a communist is to be a person, not an animal. What is the difference between an animal and a human being? An animal lives to satisfy its natural instincts (simply eating and sleeping, roughly speaking) while a person has the ability to suppress these instincts for the sake of society. A man is one who not only takes from society, but also gives. Every man, if he is a man and not an animal, must find a way to serve society.

Posted in Russia0 Comments

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